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Eupeptic verve

Viennese music played by the Bruckner Orchester Linz -
reviewed by

'... enchanting freedom and flexibility ...'

The Essence of Viennese Music. Opera, operetta and dance ... © 2004 Chesky Records Inc

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].

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Copyright © 28 August 2004 Robert Anderson, London UK


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