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Dance Music from Old Vienna
Joseph LANNER (1801 - 1843)

Neue Wiener Ländler Op.1
Bankett-Polonaise Op.135
Amazonen-Galopp Op.148 No.2
Malapou-Galopp Op.148 No.1
Steyrische Tänze Op.165
Cerrito-Polka Op.189
Die Werber Op.103
Jägers Lust (Jagd-Galopp) Op.82
Marien-Waltzer Op.143
Johann STRAUSS I (1804 - 1849)

Salon-Polka Op.161
Kettenbrücke-Waltzer Op.4
Eisele und Beiseler-Sprünge Op.202
Josef STRAUSS (1827 - 1870)

Sehnsucht, Polka Mazur Op.22
Johann STRAUSS II (1825 - 1899)

Pariser-Polka Op.382
Wiener Blut, Waltzer Op.354
Tanzquartett Wien
Reinhold Rung and Catia Rung (violins), Martin Fuchs (viola) and Gabriela Tzvetanova (double-bass)
Recorded in Moyzes Hall, Bratislava in March 2001 DDD Stereo
NAXOS LIGHT CLASSICS 8.555689 [66:02]


These fifteen "coffee house" dances are beautifully performed by the Tanzquartett Wien with a stylishness that must stem from their membership of various Viennese orchestras. All that is missing is the clink of coffee cups and the swish of long dresses as the dancers swirl around.

And that is the very reason why this CD must be declared one for the specialist or for those seeking high class aural wallpaper. Over an hour of two violins, a viola and a double bass, playing authentic arrangements of music often composed for larger forces, is a bit relentless if not taken in small doses. For example Johann Strauss IIís great waltz Vienna Blood, which ends the disc, has none of the huge swirling thrill that it has in full orchestral dress. It ends up sounding merely sweet, which is not the whole story.

There is not a dud track on the entire disc but, a big 'but', it all ends up sounding the much same. This may be in part due to the rather close recording which, whilst clean enough, does remove any acoustic that may have been imparted by the Moyzes Hall. As a result I felt slightly battered rather than seduced. The same closeness gives the first violin a rather steely edge which just might disturb listeners using less than very smooth systems, and it also tends to soften the double bass such that I was wishing to hear more of it. It should not be forgotten that all of these pieces were written for dancing or taking coffee and cake, and not for pure listening, a point made in the excellent and very thorough notes. The picture on the cover at least hints at the real situation in which this, often very beautiful, music needs to be performed.

Dave Billinge


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