Johann Strauss II (1825 - 1899)

“Kaiser-Walzer”, op.437 (12')

Kaiser-Walzer (Emperor Waltz) is one of Strauss II’s late works and was composed in 1889. Just like the Im Krapfenwald’l (In Krapfen's Woods) polka, this waltz too had a different name. The piece was originally called “Hand in Hand” Waltz because both Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph and German Kaiser Wilhelm II were scheduled to attend its premiere, which occurred in Berlin on October 21, 1889. The waltz was intended to symbolize a friendly relationship between Austria and Germany. While the piece was being prepared for publication, however, the publisher insisted on an alternative name because it was thought that the original title denoted the two monarchs equally, thus possibly dishonoring the Austrian emperor (Strauss II resided in the Austrian capital).

Kaiser-Waltzer begins with a march-like introduction marked “Langsames Marschtempo (tempo of slow march).” The first waltz of the piece appears after beautiful and elegant cello solo.

[Akira Ishii]