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Marble Surface

Joseph Lanner

Ideale, Künstler Ball Tänze, Op. 192

00:00 / 09:52

My transcription of the autograph score from the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus.

It was only after I had been to Vienna, copied the score and started work on it that I found that a recording already existed. It’s on YouTube and it’s pretty good. However, it is a really good waltz, one of Lanner’s very best, and there were enough differences to warrant my continuing. Some of the wind writing is very good, except for the poor oboe as usual.

The recording is about the same tempo as mine. There is more rubato. There’s none marked in the score but who’s to know what the performance practice at the time was. I’ve used some rubato but for waltzes of this period I prefer to keep up the energy levels.

There are three things I take issue with –

1) At the beginning of waltz 2 there is a pause over a barline – a clear break (see image). There’s no rit before it. I’ve done it, although what the dancers would do at that point is moot. It’s not marked on the repeat. It’s not done in the recording. I don’t think you can just ignore it. This kind of thing does turn up elsewhere and is inevitably ignored, presumably because it doesn’t fit with the modern view of the waltz.

2) Trumpets. Lanner calls for four trumpets in an orchestra of not more than 35 players. They are early valve trumpets and would very much be a new sound at the time. They have very prominent parts in Lanner, often providing contrasting rhythms – a sort of rhythm section. They did become fashionable for a time, Johann Strauss I used them too, but nobody gives them such a prominent role as Lanner. There may be four trumpets on the recording but I can only hear two. Perhaps it’s my poor ear but even if there are four, you should be able to hear them clearly.

3) Dynamics. Quite a lot of this waltz is marked fortissimo. Some parts are fortissimo with fz and an accent. The recording rarely gets above mf. The brass section never does. For example, in the introduction when the fortissimo arrives it is sustained almost till the end of it. There is no diminuendo. The piece is a dynamic range of ppp to ff. There are lots of sudden contrasts. The modern view of the waltz is very nostalgic and romantic. I think Lanner knew what he would get when he asked for ff with an accent. He does mark individual instruments down for balance. He rarely does it for his trumpets. Jnst play what’s written?

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