Viennese music played by the Bruckner Orchester Linz -
'... enchanting freedom and flexibility ...'
What extraordinary creatures we are. The odd conceit of waiting for Schoenberg before
announcing a Second Viennese School seems more than usually perverse after listening to
this disc. The first of the Strausses began delighting us before Beethoven was cold in
his grave, and Emmerlich Kalman survived until the coronation of our own dear Queen
Elizabeth. If it be thought that the Second School only waltzed or cotilloned, Brahms can
be thrown in for a little symphonic weight, and Richard Strauss to show that operetta might
sometimes become opera. Schoenberg and co must be patient and just wait till their
historical position is more settled.
It is a rare treat to hear the Radetsky March without the clapping and stamping
that always drown it out in any Viennese performance. Strauss senior wrote it in 1848,
not long before his death, when he staunchly supported law and order in that year of
quasi-democratic stirrings. Radetsky had done his stuff against Napoleon, marched into
Paris almost hand in hand with the tsar of Russia, and then been promoted towards obscurity
to save the expense of implementing his army reforms. His men continued to idolise him,
and so did Strauss senior, who has given him a stirring immortality among the ungrateful
Viennese [listen -- track 3, 0:00-1:08].
Copyright © 28 August 2004
Robert Anderson, London UK