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Joseph Lanner (1801-43)


Joseph Lanner is commonly referred to as "The Father of the Waltz". For most of his career he and his former colleague Johann Strauss I were in competition for popularity in the Viennese dance world. Of the two, Lanner is probably the more sophisticated composer. During the 1830's and 1840's most of his waltzes have something new in them. Sometimes it works and sometimes not. By the end of his career Lanner is producing music not to be surpassed in the form until the maturity of Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss nearly twenty years later.

With a few exceptions his music is neglected today. There are perhaps two reasons for this. He is not called Strauss - Lanner may be the better composer but the name Strauss became synonymous with the waltz due to his rival taking his orchestra on tour around Europe and having three talented sons to carry on the name. Lanner's music is written before the final development of the symphony orchestra. His band contains unusual instruments that have become obsolete, particularly a section of four early valve trumpets whose range is beyond that of the modern trumpet. His music need to be rearranged before an orchestra can play it, with a loss of the authentic Lanner sound.

No such problems with an electronic orchestra, however.

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