Marble Surface

Josef Gung'l

Soldatenlieder, Walzer, Op.183

Arr. CPE Strauss

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00:00 / 07:07

My orchestration from the Bute piano score of this waltz by Joseph Gung’l. I’ve been putting off doing a Gung’l waltz for ages. He is an important figure in the history of the waltz, but what I had heard of his music didn’t impress me that much. Before the cries of outrage come in, my Premier League is Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Joseph Lanner, and he definitely is not in that class. My championship is Ziehrer, Komzak II, Johann Strauss I, August Lanner and Fahrbach I, and I don’t think he’s at that level either. That is serious competition though, and he still writes good music of its type.

Up until fairly recently he has not been helped by the available recordings. There are one or two good ones around now, although I’m not convinced I am always hearing unadulterated Gung’l. Obviously this isn’t unadulterated Gung’l either.

I picked this one after looking through press coverage and publishers’ lists for Gung’l and this waltz comes up a lot, and is sometimes the reference point for reviews of his other work (“Nowhere near as good as Soldatenlieder”) so the omens were good. It is a very good waltz. I think it dates from the early 1860’s (There was certainly a UK performance in 1865) so have orchestrated it as best I can in a style of that period. I have no idea whether it is anything like the original, because I have not seen enough of his full scores to build up a picture of his orchestration.

I have a suspicion there’s not a lot of Gung’l left in it, assuming the tunes are genuine soldiers’ songs and with the doubtful benefit of my orchestration. However, I think it works.