Joseph LANNER (1801–1843) Viennese Dances Tarantel-Galopp (Tarantula Galop) (1838) [2:02] Hexentanz Waltz (Witches’ Dance Waltz) (1843) [11:33] Elisens und Katinkens Vereinigung (The Union of Elizabeth and Catherine) (1831) [3:41] Hofball-Tänze (Court Ball Dances) (1840) [11:30] Huldigungsmarsch (Homage March) (1836) [4:12] Neujahrs-Galopp (New Year’s Galop) (1833) [3:50] Mitternachts Waltz (Midnight Waltz) (1826) [6:30] Hans-Jörgel-Polka (Hans Jörgel’s Polka) (1842) [3:23] Steyrische Tänze (Styrian Dances) (1841) [6:52] Die Schönbrunner (The Schönbrunn Waltz) (1842) [14:57]
Orchestre de Cannes/Wolfgang Dörner
rec. Théâtre Croisette de l’hôtel J W Marriott, Cannes, France, 24-26 June 2015 NAXOS 8.573552 [68:29]
The Strauss family dominated Viennese dance music for the greater part of the 19th century, but it was Joseph Lanner who invented the Viennese waltz. He played in an orchestra from the age of 12 and at 17 formed his own ensemble, to begin with a string quartet, in which the three years younger Johann Strauss also played for some time before he started his own ensemble. Strauss and Lanner became enormously popular and their rivalry never led to hostility. Lanner mostly remained in Vienna while Strauss toured extensively in Europe. Both wrote great amounts of music and both died fairly young: Lanner was 42, Strauss 45. Both were overshadowed by the music of Johann Strauss II. Strauss I is at least remembered for his Radetzky March and some of Lanner’s works have survived. Listening to the present disc it is easy to understand his popularity during the 1830s and 1840s. He had both melodic gifts and was a skilled orchestrator.
The lively and stirring Tarantel-Galopp is a suitable introduction to this varied and attractive programme, and it is followed by one of Lanner’s last works, premiered in February 1843, just a couple of months before his untimely decease: Hexentanz Waltz This is, both harmonically and from the point of view of the sound, probably his boldest and most advanced composition. The opening and also the finale is truly spooky programme music, where brass sonorities and percussion add an extra thrill. Generally speaking Lanner, though a violinist himself, seems to have had a special fondness for brass instruments. Fanfares can be heard in several of the works, not least in Hofball-Tänze from 1840, which is one of the works that has survived.
In Mittelnachts Waltz, which is the earliest composition, written in 1826 and carrying opus number 8, he contrasts softer portions, almost like chamber music, with episodes of larger dimensions.
Steyrische Tänze is in rondo form and the second subject will be recognized by many ballet lovers since it was borrowed by Stravinsky who used it in Petrushka, where it is a trumpet solo.
The best known, and by most commentators regarded as Lanner’s masterpiece, is Die Schönbrunner, first performed on 13 October 1842, almost to the day a half year before the composer’s death. It was the Viennese waltz until Johann Strauss II released An der schönen blauen Donau in 1867. Stravinsky must have been a Lanner aficionado since he also borrowed the main melody from Die Schönbrunner for inclusion in Petrushka.
This is a wholly charming disc. It is good to have so much fine Lanner music available as a complement to the numerous Johann Strauss records. Orchestre de Cannes play as to the manner born and the recorded sound is all one could wish.