Dance Signals 2010
The Music of the Strauss Dynasty – Reception and Interpretation
Friday 19 March to Wednesday 24 March 2010
For the seventh consecutive year!
Symposium – Concerts – Round Table Discussions
The dances, marches and operettas by the Strauss family of Vienna are linked so closely with the way the whole world thinks of Vienna as the ‘capital of music’ that there are very few other composers whose works can be said to be linked with the city to such a degree. People in Vienna, from the city’s tourism managers to the politicians in the Town Hall, are very fond of this label, and it is clear that they will do all they can to make sure it sticks. After all, it conveys exactly that cultural image of Vienna which they like to promote and is also an important economic factor which brings in a great deal of money, both directly and indirectly. Hence the music of the Strauss dynasty means more to Vienna than cultural heritage: it provides the city with one of its best advertisements.
Strauss music is played – some performances are better, some are worse. Is it still enough to think that what matters most is the fact that this music is simply being played and danced to – no matter how?
Strauss research undertaken in the Vienna Library in the Town Hall and by the Vienna Institute for Strauss Research, the compilation of the thematic-bibilographical catalogue of the complete works of Johann Strauss II (Strauss-Elementar-Verzeichnis, SEV) and of the Strauss-Allianz-Verzeichnis (SAV), which brings together the works of the other members of the Strauss family who were composers, as well as the publication of critical editions of collected works: all these have in the last two decades led to such a great increase in our knowledge of sources and of authentic Strauss interpretations that an exchange of findings between musicologists and performers is long overdue. In addition new knowledge always leads to new questions that need to be discussed. The stimulus for this to be done can come only from Vienna.
In order to provide an up-to-date interpretation of Strauss music what is needed is not just scores based on original sources but also knowledge of the history of musical instruments and how they were played. There is no lack of source material, be it in the form of musical manuscripts, printed editions, performance material, contemporary accounts of performances, the interpretations of Eduard Strauss II (1910–1969) – to date the last full-time professional musician in the family, or many other recordings in a range of formats, including rolls for player pianos.
The extent to which Strauss music is living music is proved by the large
number of arrangements made from the time of the first perfomances up
to the present day. They range from simple versions for piano to elaborate
concert paraphrases, from arrangements for chamber music ensembles to
big band sound in strict time for competitive dancing tournaments. The
operettas are adapted to suit the times and places of performances. In
the case of each and every arrangement the question every interpreter
must ask is: what did the composer intend?
Norbert Rubey (English translation: Leigh Bailey)
What will take place
• The symposium on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 March in the large lecture room of the Department of Music of the University of Vienna, Hof/Courtyard 9, University Campus AAKH (Entrance: Garnisongasse 9, 1090 Vienna).
• A concert given by the New Vienna Concert Schrammel Quartet (Neue Wiener ConcertSchrammeln) and presented by Otto Brusatti in the Sträusselsäle of the Theater in der Josefstadt at 11 a.m. on Sunday 21 March. Please note that those interested should book tickets themselves in good time, as it has not been possible for the WISF to have tickets set aside for those attending the symposium.
• A Vienna Lecture on ‘The Strauss Family and their Myths’ on Wednesday 24 March 2010, the one hundredth anniversary of the birth of Eduard Strauss II, to date the last full-time professional musician in the family (see the biography available under ‘Eduard Strauss II’ on the column to the left).
Looking forward to seeing you,