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Marble Surface

Josef Bayer

Mir San Mir, Walzer

Arr. CPE Strauss

00:00 / 04:33

My orchestration of the third of three waltzes by Bayer published as “Alt-Wien. Drei Walzer nach Motiven von Morelly, Lanner und Strauß für Klavier zweihändig von Josef Bayer. I. "Wiener Kinder". II. "Wien bleibt Wien". III. "Mir san mir". This one is the only one of the three that credits the original composers and the music is all by Strauss and Lanner. There’s nothing by any of the Morelly’s.

I had to make a choice between orchestrating it in a late 19th century style or in an approximation of the composers 1840-ish style. I was sure Bayer would have used a modern style so I didn’t. Just awkward but I had a few of the original pieces so could use the proper orchestration.

The music is from –

Lanner – Die Vorstädtler (*)
Lanner – Die Schmetterlinge
Strauss – Gesellschaftswalzer
Lanner – Liebesträume
Strauss – Künstlerball Tänze, Op. 150 (*)
Lanner – Die Troubadours
Strauss – Herztöne
Lanner – Lebenspulse (*+)
Lanner – Terpsichore
Lanner – Musikvereinstänze
Strauss – Latonenewalzer
Strauss – Die Lustwandler
Lanner – Nachtviolen

* - Original orchestration (more or less. Bayer transposes Lebenspulse so that the original instrumentation is impractical.)
+ - Caused me irritation. I orchestrated it and thought the last four bars were weak, especially the first time bar. I thought they didn’t sound like Lanner and wasted some time looking for a recording or score of the original waltz without success only to remember I had copied the autograph when in Vienna last year. The last four bars aren’t Lanner although Lanner’s original ending would have worked and worked better than the replacement. Took my orchestration out and put Lanner’s in. It was better than mine, of course. Resisted the temptation to put Lanner’s ending back. Just.

I like potpourris and like music from this period but I found this a bit disappointing for two reasons.

1) Fashions change. The originals of these waltzes contain big contrasts in rhythms, dynamics and melody in a way that most waltzes of about 1900 no longer do. Bayer has chosen themes that are very similar, especially in dynamics. There is little contrast. Even within the themes he has ironed out the contrasts. For example, in the original of the excerpt from Die Troubadours the theme starts with a crashing ff chord out of nowhere. Not here. The forte bar later is a subito forte surprise. Bayer puts a crescendo in. (I’ve taken it out. Sorry). This theme is one of Lanner’s “marking time” themes. It is fairly repetitive: nothing much happens. When you come across one of these in a Lanner waltz it is usually followed by an explosion. It is in Troubadours but is followed by another quiet theme here. Music that should be thrilling and exciting has been turned into polite background music. I know that was probably the intention but it’s not for me.

2) It’s just not very well done. There’s no structure to it: it’s just a succession of bits. The joining material is uninspired. Perhaps he was in a hurry as Bayer was a talented composer.

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