Marble Surface

August Lanner

Die Ersten Gedanken, Walzer, Op. 1

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My transcription from the manuscript of this waltz by August Lanner. This piece has suffered much in previous recordings, not least mine. However, when I was looking at another score in the Vienna library in 2019, tucked in the back of the folder was the autograph of this piece. There’s not much in common with my earlier versions. A lot of it is down to my ignorance and lack of experience. It was one of the first pieces I did, and I had no idea of what August Lanner’s orchestration was like.

Nor had anyone else, mind you. There are three other recordings that I know of, none in the original orchestration or anything like it. Two of them are absolute butchery. The Ensemble Wien chamber version is a very good performance and is where I first heard anything by August Lanner. It suffers from the other big problem I had in that it is based on the piano score (I think) which is nothing like the manuscript. Different notes, different dynamics, different harmony and, perhaps most of all, different phrasing. If you are trying to work out how to play and orchestrate a musical line, the phrasing makes an enormous difference. For example, in waltz 5A here, if you turn a blind eye to the completely different notes in the introduction, the big tune is played as one long phrase by Ensemble Wien (and me too in earlier versions) but Lanner breaks it up and marks some of it staccato. There’s no way of guessing his orchestration if you don’t know that. I’ve always suspected there was a very good waltz hidden in here. Even the title is different!