Matra's Echo, Walzer, Op. 48
My transcription of the autograph score of this waltz by Franz Morelly. It is probably unique in that it is the only surviving full score of a Morelly waltz that I have seen or heard of. As regular followers will know, Morelly was probably the most serious competitor to Lanner and Strauss in Vienna in the 1830’s. Certainly, in 1839 you could buy the piano score of this piece for 45 Xr and few other composers, Strauss and Lanner excepted, could demand 45 Xr for a waltz. After about 1840 he spent the great majority of his time in Bombay as director of the garrison band there, a very lucrative position but one that took him away from mainstream music publishing. There is little trace of his music after that apart from a very few piano scores. I’m guessing that if his music survives it is in a box in Bombay.
I don’t know to what the title refers. Given that it isn’t a French car and there’s no trace of a song or theatre piece, I assume it is something to do with the Matra mountain range in Hungary. One or two of the themes have a Hungarian feel but not sufficient to make that certain. There are echo effects in the score.
It is a very good waltz of the period. Morelly is not just a Strauss/Lanner imitator. There is nothing in here reminiscent of them. It is written for a full orchestra similar to Lanner’s except where Lanner has four trumpets two of which double on horn, Morelly has two horns and three trumpets, full time.
I have taken a slight liberty in that the title page asks for two flutes rather than one flute and one piccolo player doubling on flute as normal for this period. The second flute part looked like a piccolo part to me and in the coda Morelly accidentally writes some of the wind parts on the wrong line and the correction says picolo [sic]. At no point in the score is there an instruction for the second flute to play piccolo so I have gone with my instincts and written it for piccolo throughout.
I have changed some of the dynamics for balance. Morelly marks some instruments up or down in places presumably because he knows the characteristics of his orchestra. His orchestra is not the same as mine and some important bits were inaudible.
I’ve fixed obvious errors but there are still some interesting discords in places. I’ve left the ones I’m pretty sure he meant.
The orchestration is very full. There is much more going on in the internal parts than in the majority of Strauss or even Lanner. I have doubled the bass drum with cymbals. It doesn’t say whether that is expected in the score but it’s not uncommon and works with the scale of the orchestration
When I got to waltz five I thought, “This is good but it’s missing a really good tune”. Morelly must have thought so too as there are a couple of belters in the coda.
Parts of the coda are undanceable even if you haven’t got two left feet. I don’t know what the dancers would have done. I have played what Morelly wrote in strict tempo.
Is it a great waltz? Probably not, if you compare it to the best of Lanner of this period. Is it better than average. I would say so.