Marble Surface

Johann Strauss II

An der schönen blauen Donau, Walzer, Op. 314

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00:00 / 09:21

This probably needs some explanation as I guess there are more than enough recordings of the Blue Danube. I transcribed it in 2018 from the full score with no expectation of releasing it, as a Christmas present for Judy, so that she could hear what I spent so much time doing but on some familiar music. It has since taken on a bit of a life of its own as a demonstration piece for Sibelius and Noteperformer 3. However, I did do it seriously and the result is a bit different, so I have put it on here.

This is probably the most hacked about piece of music ever written, so much so that it is easy to forget what Strauss actually wrote. He was not writing a symphonic poem or Austria’s second national anthem, but a waltz, to be danced (more or less!) to the accompaniment of the Strauss orchestra (and I know not for the first performance). I have treated this as if I’d never heard it before. I have used a sensibly sized orchestra (as near as possible to the Strauss orchestra of the period) and followed Strauss’s dynamic and tempo markings. He only asks for fortissimo in about a dozen bars, and there are very few tempo changes. Obviously, no musician would play it in strict tempo (although I have heard some recordings …) but it must be capable of being danced to by amateur dancers who have maybe had a bit too much to drink. If you keep them in mind, you cannot pull the tempo about as much as (some) real conductors do with (some) real orchestras. If you don't play it on on a 90 piece orchestra, you can hear more of Strauss's brilliant orchestral detail too.

I think it does work like this, although it would work better with a real orchestra and a conductor of like mind to mine, and I think it is worth hearing, if only once. So here is the waltz after “Feenmärchen” and before “Künstlerleben”, which just happens to be called “An der schönen blauen Donau”