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Walzer Revolution / Harnoncourt, Concentus Musicus Wien

Harnoncourt,Nikolaus
Release Date: 03/26/2012 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 791411  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartJohann Strauss Sr.Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

On his new album Walzer Revolution, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Concentus Musicus Wien turn their attention to a selection of dances by Mozart, Lanner and Strauss in order to give them new interpretations in the spirit intended by the composers. Harnoncourt, who more than any other conductor of our time, represents a revolution in the way works are performed and in the reception of music, traces the line from the dances of Mozart to 19th-century dances that were profoundly characteristic of the society of that time. Thanks to his typical practice of performing the works in a historical manner, he succeeds in making this dance music an authentic listening experience that is constantly denied to us by the usual modern orchestration. This Read more 2-CD set not only conveys the true joy of listening but also narrates music history.

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WALTZ REVOLUTION: From Mozart’s Dances to Lanner and Strauss Nikolaus Harnoncourt, cond; Concentus Musicus SONY 88697914112 (2 CDs: 100:14)


MOZART Contradances, K 603/1, 609/1, 609/4. 6 German Dances, K 571. J. STRAUSS I Radetzky March. Erste Kettenbrücke Waltz. Schäfer Quadrille. Carnival in Paris. Waltz à la Paganini. LANNER Pas de 9 After Saviero Mercadante. Sehnsuchts-Masur. Hans-Jörgel Polka. Malapou Galop. Hexentanzwalzer. Corso Donati March. Cerrito Polka. Jagd Galop. Die Schönbrunner Waltz


A rectangular red sticker affixed to the CD case proclaims: “A REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH to Vienna’s most famous musical export: THE WALTZ AS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD IT BEFORE.” The breathless hype continues in the booklet, and is worth quoting at some length:


“With the present release, Nikolaus Harnoncourt is calling for a revolution: a revolution in the field of the waltz and of dance in general that goes back to its actual origins. Rediscovery and re-interpretation result from stepping back from an overwrought tradition and turning away from customs and rituals that cultural historians have come to associate with the concept of the waltz, but which in terms of its form and significance and also in its inherent complexity and subtle elegance have in fact forced this dance back to the very brink of musicological seriousness.


“The dance music of the 19th century has developed over the decades into the musical expression of revolution and of a conceptual emancipation dating back to the Age of Restoration in Europe. Even though continuing developments in the field of dance no longer go hand in hand with social change, Nikolaus Harnoncourt has nonetheless succeeded in spearheading a musical revolution by deliberately going back to the historical sound of original and rarely performed dances. Simply through the use of 10 different kinds of trumpet and five different types of clarinet, he creates a multifaceted variety of sonorities that today’s listeners will find unusual in the case of the waltz.


“Harnoncourt breathes new life into the waltz, treating it as a genre worth taking seriously in its original form.” Etc., etc.


Well, enough of such pompous, risible balderdash (although it’s almost scary to think that someone got paid good money to write this hyperbolic claptrap). In fact, these performances sound little different from the best performances of the allegedly “overwrought tradition” that the booklet notes affect to deride. Yes, there is the more acerbic and pungent timbre of the period instruments, with their arresting crispness of articulation, but these are hardly novelties anymore, even in the waltz genre. And, without a detailed scorecard to tell the listener exactly who is playing what and when, one cannot detect the difference between the 10 different trumpets and five different clarinets, especially since exactly what those 15 different instruments are is nowhere specified. Finally, in a gesture that is positively reactionary rather than revolutionary, this set times out at a parsimonious 100 minutes of music for two midpriced CDs that could easily accommodate 150 minutes.


What do make this an extremely worthwhile and enjoyable release are the musical contents and the performances. The numbers by Lanner and Strauss père are rarities indeed, drawn either from first published editions or archival manuscripts of unpublished items. Harnoncourt and his longtime forces of Concentus Musicus have both Mozart and the 19th-century Viennese waltz idiom bred into their fingertips from birth; they play with unimpeachable stylishness, in performances abounding in color, lilt, and vivacity. There is no shortage of resort to traditional ritardandi and plasticity of tempi, but the interpretations are blessedly free from the eccentricities in tempi that have marred some of Harnoncourt’s more recent endeavors. The recorded sound is suitably vibrant and brings every delightful detail to the fore without being overbearing. Everyone who loves the music of Strauss fils— and is there anyone among Fanfare readers who doesn’t?—should waltz over to a computer or retail music outlet forthwith to add this set to their music collections.


FANFARE: James A. Altena
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Works on This Recording

1.
Contradances (2), K 603: no 1 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Contradances (5), K 609: no 1 in C major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Contradances (5), K 609: no 4 in C major by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1791; Vienna, Austria 
4.
German Dances (6), K 571 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Radetzky March, Op. 228 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Kettenbrucke Waltzes, Op. 4: no 1 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
7.
Schäfer-Quadrille, Op. 217 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
8.
Der Carneval in Paris, Op. 100 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1838; Austria 
9.
Walzer à la Paganini, Op. 11 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Pas de neuf nach Saverio Mercadante by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
11.
Sehnsuchts Mazur, Op. 89 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
12.
Hansjörgel Polka, Op. 194 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Malapou Galop, Op. 148 no 1 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Hexentanzwalzer, Op. 203 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: Austria 
15.
Corso Donati: March by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
16.
Cerrito Polka, Op. 189 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 19th Century; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Jagd-Galoppe by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
18.
Malapou Galop, Op. 148 no 1 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Concentus Musicus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Vienna, Austria 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 a perfect balance of musicianship and scholarship April 24, 2012 By M.  Becker (Park Ridge, IL) See All My Reviews "Unfortunately, most music written for social occasions in our contemporary society ends up being either background music of some variation or is presented in a formal format, i.e. movie scores or concert music. We have become passive observers rather than active participants. The phenomenon of a Ball (or wedding) where every one attending is expected to actively participate and dance is unheard of.
The waltzes as presented by Harnoncourt are not so much a revolution, but rather a revelation of this musical form. The CD is presented as an evolution of this form. It is in fact much more than that, it is a programatic guide leading the listener from music written for the upper class to music written for all classes.
This music was written to be performed in a social setting and is performed as such at tempi that allow and in fact demand active participation. The playing is beyond reproach, the original orchestrations, use of period correct instruments and sensitive attention to balance and dynamics provide for a refreshing and unique tonal experience. If there is fault to be found, the playing is just a tad stiff. The recently reissued recordings by the Alexander Schneider Quintet feature some of the same works, albeit not in the original scoring. The playing is more intimate and playful. The other options worth noting are the recently rereleased Reiner recordings with the CSO. Reiner grew up In the Viennese tradition and it shows. Also not to be ignored are the Marco Polo complete Opus recordings from Strauss Sr. and Son as well as the C.M. Ziehrer series."
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