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Marble Surface

Franz Morelly

Die Flatterhaften, Walzer, Op. 216

CPE Strauss

00:00 / 06:42

My orchestration from the piano score of this waltz by Franz Morelly, surely the most enigmatic of the Viennese dance composers.

Having perhaps been the best of the competitors to Joseph Lanner and Johann Strauss I in Vienna in the 1830’s he spent most of the rest of his career in India working for the British East India Company. He died in 1859 in Bombay holding the position of Director of the Garrison Band and was buried there in the Catholic chapel. By all accounts (i.e. The Bombay Gazette) he and the band were very well regarded, giving concerts and providing the music for balls and festivities. The repertoire was remarkably up to date, Johann Strauss II’s Napoleon march of late 1854 was being performed by Morelly in Bombay in February 1856.

He certainly seems to have been well paid. Bearing in mind that he must also have maintained an establishment in Vienna as his wife stayed there, his Indian estate at his death amounted to £906 and 4000 Rupees, valued at approximately £200000 today.

What happened to the music? Did he stagnate in India or did he do a Haydn and be forced to become original because of the isolation? There are piano scores in the Vienna libraries of a lot of his work up until he went to India for the first time in about 1840 but I have only found one full orchestral score. He is supposed to have published two hundred and fifty pieces according to Google type research but I have only found four after 1840, including Opus 250 which might be the root of the 250 pieces “research”.

This piece was published in 1853 and is bang up to date. It has its own individual style. 1853 is an interesting year in Vienna. Johann Strauss II had worked himself into exhaustion and Josef Strauss and August Lanner were making their first appearances. Could Morelly have competed with them?

If Morelly had stayed in Vienna and survived both Lanner and Johann Strauss II, how much more difficult would it have been for Johann Strauss II to establish himself?

It’s a good waltz regardless.

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