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Carl Michael ZIEHRER (1843-1922)
Dances and Marches Vol 4

Weaner Mad’In, Walzer (Viennese Girl’s Waltz) (1888)
Augensprach, Polka Mazur (Catch Your Eye Polka Mazurka) (1868)
Duck’ dich, Manderl!, Marsh (Take cover March) (1911)
Liebesgeheimnis, Polka (orch C. Pollack) (Secret Loves Quick Polka) (1908)
Liebeswalzer (Lovers’ Waltz) (1911)
Frauenlogik, Polka Mazur (Women’s Logic Mazurka) (1893)
Ohne Sorgen, Polka schnell (Without A Care Quick Polka) (1868)
Natursänger, Walzer (Nature Singers’ Waltz) (1890)
Ein Blümchen in Verborgenen (A Hidden Flower Polka Mazurka) (1873)
Buberl, komm’! Walzer (Come Along, Laddy! Waltz) (1901)
Kőnig von Sachsen, Marsch (King of Saxony March) (1866)
In Reih’ und Glied, Polka française (Line Up French Polka) (1870)
Seculo nuovo, vita, Walzer ( New Century, New Life Waltz) (1900)
Razumovsky Sinfonia/Christian Pollack
Rec. 26-30 November 2001, Concert Hall, Slovak Radio, Bratislava
MARCO POLO 8.223817 [77:14]

Carl Michael Ziehrer was one of the greatest rivals of the Viennese Strauss family. He was at three times in his career a bandmaster and therefore it may not be surprising that so many of his compositions have a certain brashness and swagger as well as elegance. Ziehrer enjoyed a very successful career composing operettas which found their way into most continental European cities and some were performed on Broadway. These operettas maintained the form of the so-called Golden Era, soon to be overtaken by the more romantic style of the Silver Age started by his friend Franz Lehár.

Ziehrer’s waltzes, polkas, marches and mazurkas are written in the very familiar Viennese style of Johann Strauss. All are elegantly tuneful and a reminder of a bygone age of innocence (?) and refinement.

The English titles given above hint at the composer’s sense of humour. The thundering bass drum of the Take Cover March might suggest gunfire and the wickedly ironically titled Without a Care Quick Polka would need, I think, a lot of skill and care for dancers to keep up with its headlong pace. And the bouncy Secret Loves Waltz, suggests a furtiveness and, in its more explosive chords, illicit love discovered. The delightful opening of Lover’s Waltz might suggest a romantic carriage ride through a Viennese park. Here magical use is made of the xylophone and harp. Ziehrer introduced novelties into some of his pieces: the most substantial work here, the opening Viennese Girls’ Waltz, has a whistling sequence and Nature Singers’ Waltz begins with lots of birdsong. The waltzes have such a wonderfully romantic lilt. One can easily imagine women in gorgeous ball gowns with their moustachioed and probably resplendent uniformed beaux swirling under giant candelabra in the ballrooms of fin de siècle Vienna.

All these little gems are performed with great charm and élan by the Razumovsky Orchestra a special Naxos/Marco Polo recording orchestra comprising the best players of the Slovak Philharmonic, Slovak Radio Symphony Orchestra (Bratislava), Slovak Chamber Orchestra and the Opera Theatre Orchestra. An undemanding treat.

Ian Lace

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