Strauss, Josef (1827-70)
- Waltz: Music of the Spheres
Dr. Burney described the waltz (1805) as
a “riotous modern invention”, whose name
implied “to wallow, tumble or roll in the
dirt”, he might have been denouncing rock
'n' roll in 1956. When he wondered “how
uneasy an English mother would be to see
her daughter so familiarly treated”, he
could have been lambasting the lambada in
the 1980s. This salacious popular entertainment
hit it big when Johann Strauss Vater
formed his rock - sorry, dance -
band (1825). Eventually, the family elevated
the waltz from the Kaffeehäuser (c.f.
disco) to the regal ballrooms of Europe.
Strauss composed copiously for his own
band. To amuse the punters, pieces received
catchy, but not always musically justified,
titles. Whilst polkas, mazurkas (etc.) were
short and snappy, waltzes were indeed the
“symphonies by Strauss”. Music of the
Spheres opens with suitably “celestial”
sounds, but once past the gimmick it’s “business
as usual” - so prepare to sway in your seats!
originally commissioned by the Vancouver
Symphony for a concert given on 01 May 2004
© Paul Serotsky
29, Carr Street,
for use apply. Details here
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