The composers on this collection of popular music from the late 19th century range from obscure -- like Julius Fucik, best known for the Entrance of the Gladiators of circus fame -- to the completely unknown. The program, in fact, is a product of research by the Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain and the present conductor, John Georgiades, and all the music is receiving its recorded premiere. The crackling industrial energy of the Johann Strauss II waltzes is missing here, and in fact one of the most interesting features of the program is the preponderance of forms other than the waltz, which was rhythmically the most complicated form of its day. That said, there are plenty of intriguing pieces, and anyone interested in the wider milieu that surrounded the Strauss family will find much to enjoy. There's a waltz by a Mexican composer, Juventino Rosas. There are several other effective pieces by Fucik, including an Um Mitternacht march (track 13) that deploys trombones in the role of cats. The final Berliner Luft Overture of Paul Lincke, still known in the city of Berlin, is an ambitious longer piece in the Strauss vein. The Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra Pardubice is not the Vienna Philharmonic, to be sure, but probably typical enough of the bands that played this music in its heyday. Recommended for Strauss buffs.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by James Manheim