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Johann STRAUSS (1804-1849)
Johann Strauss I Edition - vol. 23
Fortuna-Polka, op.219 (1848) [2:18]
Wiener Kreutzer-Polka, op.220 (1848) [2:20]
Österreichischer Nationalgarde-Marsch, op.221 (1848) [3:07]
Aeaciden-Walzer, op.222 (1848) [8:49]
Marsch der Studenten-Legion, op.223 (1848) [2:47]
Amphion-Klänge - Techniker-Ball-Tänze-Walzer, op.224 (1848) [8:40]
Aether-Träume - Mediciner Ball-Tänze-Walzer, op.225 (1848) [7:47]
Freiheitsmarsch, op.226 (1848) [2:42]
Marsch des einigen Deutschlands, op.227 (1848) [2:47]
Radetzky-Marsch (original version), op.228 (1848) [3:05]
Quadrille im Militärischen Style [sic], op.229 (1848) [5:24]
Sorgenbrecher-Walzer, op.230 (1848) [8:55]
Slovak Sinfonietta Žilina/Christian Pollack
rec. Fatra House of the Arts, Žilina, Slovakia, 7-8 January 2012. DDD
MARCO POLO 8.225343 [59:35]

Experience Classicsonline



 
The casual reader may be forgiven for thinking, after a quick glance, that this is merely a reissue of from the old Marco Polo Johann Strauss edition, which eventually ran to 51 orchestral volumes and was, moreover, followed by a 26-disc Josef Strauss edition! But no - the front cover indicates that this is a re-vamped Marco Polo, and this new release constitutes volume 23 of the complete works of Johann and Josef's under-appreciated father.
 
Handily, Strauss's works are being presented more or less in opus order. Everything here dates from 1848, an auspicious year in European history - hence the nationalistic titles of some of the works. As odd as it may seem, Strauss was right in the thick of the political action, and in his enlightening booklet notes Thomas Aigner relates the works to their social context.
 
For the jaded, it may be worth noting that these are not the orchestrally overblown versions as heard performed by the Vienna Philharmonic every New Year's Day, but original, more chamber-oriented scorings (where known). Under Vienna-born Strauss supremo Christian Pollack's respectful and dance-informed guidance, the Slovak Sinfonietta from Žilina put in a thoroughly creditable hour's worth.
 
Almost all items are in any case short enough not to outstay their welcome, and polkas, waltzes and marches alternate for added interest. If 23 CDs still seem like too much of a good thing - and the earlier volumes are generally weaker - this particular entry has the original version of Strauss senior's most celebrated work, the Radetzky March, to commend it. In the March of the Student Legion op.223 too Strauss makes use of the same 'Fuchslied' Brahms plays around with in his celebrated Academic Festival Overture. In fact, there is plenty here of sufficiently high quality and interest to justify the recording, which in any case gives listeners the chance to hear what was 'top of the pops' in 1848 Vienna.
 
Does the world need a complete edition of Johann Strauss the elder? Probably not, but considering the current phenomenal success and sales of André Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra, now seems the ideal climate in which to publish it. Pollack and the Slovak Sinfonietta, needless to say, knock spots off Rieu. Pollack, by the way, is a veteran of both the earlier Josef and Johann II editions.
 
Sound quality is good. There are two misspelt titles in the tracklist, corrected in the notes: 'Wiener-Kreuzer' should be 'Wiener-Kreutzer' and Aether-Träme' should be 'Aether-Träume'. There should be at least two more volumes to come, depending partly on how much empty space Marco Polo decide to include - the twenty minutes of it here might have taken the three remaining opuses from 1848.
 
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