Following the Christmas festivities, I like to ring in the new year with the Strausses. To that end, here are three of his most famous waltzes, one in purely orchestral form, one in both orchestral and vocal versions, and another only in its vocal form. The two singers had their Strauss waltzes backed by the waltz song Je veux vivre from Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette.

Josef Krips recorded numerous Strauss waltzes for DECCA with at least four orchestras, and sometimes with vocal soloists. These are his earliest DECCA accounts of this repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – The Blue Danube Waltz
National Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

Johann Strauss II – The Emperor Waltz
New Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – National SO, Krips

J Strauss II – Emperor – New SO, Krips

(mp3 files – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

DECCA LW 5011 (10″ LP)
Matrices TRL 29-1A, 30-1B
Transfers from original 78rpm matrices AR 11669, 11670 (Blue Danube), AR 12162, 12163 (Emperor)
Recorded 17th October 1947 (Blue Danube) and 7th April 1948 (Emperor), Kingsway Hall, London

DECCA attempted to record both waltzes during the 1947 session, but only the Blue Danube was completed. By the time the next sessions came round, the contract with the National Symphony Orchestra had expired, so the New Symphony Orchestra were called on instead. The LP sleeve however references only the earlier orchestra. The two sides of each recording were transferred to the 33rpm matrices at inconsistent speeds, necessitating a drop in speed of about 0.3rpm halfway through each waltz (at the side join).

The Australian soprano Evelyn Scotney (1896-1967), after early studies in her homeland, was heard by the great Nellie Melba and dispatched to Paris to study with Mathilde Marchesi. She later had lessons from Tosti in London. Her career took in the Boston Opera House, the Metropolitan in New York (with Caruso) and in the UK in the 1920s.

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Evelyn Scotney,
soprano
Aeolian Orchestra

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Scotney

J Strauss II – Blue Danube – Scotney

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Aeolian Vocalion A-0213
Matrices AM 8480, 10581
Recorded c1923, London
Play at 77.3rpm

The French soprano Suzanne-Marie Bertin recorded in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Several operetta sides have been reissued by Symposium, and her recording of a Reynaldo Hahn song can be heard on Youtube. This Piccadilly recording however sees her firmly in the coloratura repertoire.

Johann Strauss II – Blue Danube Waltz (in Italian)
Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre
Suzanne-Marie Bertin,
soprano
with Orchestra

J Strauss II – Reves du Printemps – Bertin

Gounod – Roméo et Juliette – Je veux vivre – Bertin

(mp3 file – click to play, or right click the link, then select “Save as”)

Piccadilly No.5018
Matrices 1867-2, 1868
Recorded c1930, London
Play at 77.8rpm