Marble Surface

C.M. Ziehrer

Neues haus aus alten Steinen, Walzer, Op. 52 (1840)

Arr. by CPE Strauss

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“dem Nachlasse des unvergesslichen J Lanner”.

My orchestrations from the Haslinger piano score of this waltz by Ziehrer … maybe. I have done two versions. The notes are the same for both.

A few weeks ago I put together a waltz from the fragments Haslinger published after Lanner’s death. Subsequently, I was looking for interesting music on the Austrian National Library’s website and I found that Ziehrer had done the same. Out of curiosity I ordered the piano score. Of course, I then wanted to hear the music so I started orchestrating it. That gave me a problem. Do I orchestrate in a manner appropriate to Lanner in 1840 or Ziehrer in 1865? I assumed that Ziehrer would be writing for his own orchestra and according to the tastes of his audience. The waltz changed a lot between the two dates. I decided to do both, despite not being very familiar with Ziehrer’s orchestration generally and especially so given that this is an early piece and there is not much of his work of this period recorded. I listened to what I could find and it seemed that this was before he had developed an individual style. It seemed to be more or less imitation Strauss.

As far as the choice of sketches is concerned, out of 11 or 12 waltz sections we have three in common. I don’t know whether that is high statistically but I suspect we were both looking for bits with interesting harmonies.

When I did my waltz I decided to use Lanner’s music unaltered as far as possible but I did choose a key scheme and transposed the waltz sections I chose to fit it. This gave the waltz a firm underlying structure. I justified the transposition because, although Lanner’s waltzes do have a different balance depending on the key, he doesn’t seem to write a specific kind of tune for a specific key, unlike Mozart for example. I thought Ziehrer was retaining the original key for each tune even though he ended up having to do some uncomfortable joinery in the introductions to sections three and five to get to some remote keys (home key A – sections in E flat and B flat) but later sections are transposed.

I did not change any notes or stresses in the waltz sections. Ziehrer does, often replacing forceful phrase endings typical of Lanner with something weaker. The style had changed but, as I did the “1840” orchestration first, I though the effect was inferior. When I did the “1865” orchestration they worked well though.

In the sketches there is little in the way of introductory material. They are more or less a stream of waltz sections. We both needed an introduction though. My solution was to take four bars of Lanner’s introductions and combine them with one of the waltz sections slowed down to Andante. I reprised the waltz at full speed in the finale. Ziehrer takes eight bars of Lanner (the first eight bars) and then extends it with music of his own to make an introduction.

I seem to have put a little more effort into the finale than Ziehrer. His is a bit perfunctory. There is enough joining material in the sketches to put together a structured finale but Ziehrer has done the minimum. He probably had less time than I do. I was surprised by the ending though. Late Lanner waltzes all tend to have distinctive and distinct endings. Fortunately for me there was one in the sketches, so I used it. Ziehrer didn’t and used an ending that is similar to those in any number of waltzes. He can’t have been that short of time!