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CD Review

Johann Strauss II

Waltzes, Polkas & Overtures

  • Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op. 214
  • Die Fledermaus: Overture & Klänge der Heimat "Czardas", Op. 503
  • Nordseebilder, Op. 390
  • Indigo und die vierzig Räuber: Im Sturmschritt, Op. 348
  • Fürstin Ninetta: Neue Pizzicato-Polka, Op. 449
  • Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257 "Musikalischer Scherz"
  • Frühlingsstimmen, Op. 410
  • Der Zigeunerbaron: Overture, Op. 503
  • An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314
  • Egyptischer Marsch, Op. 335
  • Eljen a Magyar, Op. 332
  • Furioso-Polka, Op. 260
Orchestre Anima Eterna/Jos van Immersel
Zig-Zag Territoires ZZT020601
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Anima Eterna is a serious period instrument orchestra which is exploring the boundaries of the Early Music movement, edging ever closer to living memory. They are probably the first to give scholarly attention to Johann Strauss to revelatory discovery what a marvellous orchestrator he was. In the learned essays provided you will discover that the accepted tradition of emphasising the second beat by playing it early is relatively new. Michael Rot coordinated work for the new critical edition, collating more than three thousandsources! The Blue Danube waltz alone required 16 pages of commentary.

It proves to have been a radical exercise, not just cosmetic tinkering. The music in this first selection of what must surely be an ongoing project is well varied, with rare pieces amongst the familiar. The verve and clarity of their rejuvination has to be heard to be believed. Strauss's orchestral mastery is left in no doubt by the light touch of van Immersel and his young musicians; the recording is demonstration class.

The 50+ page booklet boxed with the jewel case is lavish with historical illustrations which take you right back to Strauss's Vienna, and paintings by the company's resident artist Anne Peultier subtly bring atmosphere. Food for thought and inordinate enjoyment in this CD.

Copyright © 2005, Peter Grahame Woolf