As the proverbial saying goes: “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
It was, frankly, a matter of economic necessity that led a 36-year-old Austrian conductor named Clemens Krauss to program an all-Johann Strauss concert by the Vienna Philharmonic at the Salzburg Music Festival on today’s date in 1929.
The Festival was established in 1920 with high ideals but insecure funding. To succeed, the Festival needed both strong local support and wealthy visitors from abroad. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t, but in 1929, as the Festival approached its 10th anniversary, its finances and future seemed uncertain.
Now, Krauss knew that Strauss waltzes were popular with both the natives and the Festival’s international visitors, so why not offer a whole concert program consisting of nothing but the dance music of Johann Strauss? The August 11, 1929, concert proved to be a resounding success, and the idea was repeated at the Festival several times over the next decade.
Back home in Vienna, Krauss revived the idea of an all-Strauss concert on December 31, 1939. That year-end tradition continues to this day, as the Philharmonic presents its annual New Year’s Concert, broadcast worldwide from Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna.
Music Played in Today's Program
Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825 - 1899) Annen Polka and Perpetuum mobile Vienna Philharmonic; Clemens Krauss, conductor. Preiser 90139 (recorded 1929)
On This Day
1900 - Soviet composer Alexander Mossolov, in Kiev (Julian date: July 29);
1929 - Welsh composer Alun Hoddinott, in Bargoed (Wales);
1949 - Austrian composer Karl Weigl, age 68, in New York City;
1943 - R. Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 2, at the Salzburg Festival by the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Karl Böhm, with Gottfried von Freiburg, the principal horn of the orchestra, as soloist;
1955 - Bernstein: "On the Waterfront" Symphonic Suite, at Tanglewood by the Boston Symphony conducted by the composer;
1955 - Avery Claflin: madrigal "A Lament for April 15" (to an IRS text describing how to file an income tax return), at the Berkshire Center in Tanglewood, Mass.;
1957 - Hindemith: opera, "The Harmony of the World," in Munich, with the composer conducting;
1968 - Milhaud: "Music for New Orleans" at the Aspen Festival in Colorado; This work was commissioned originally to celebrate the 250th anniversary of New Orleans in 1966, but was rejected by the anniversary committee as unfit for the occasion;
1984 - Rachmaninoff: opera "Monna Vanna" (Act 1 only, orchestrated by Buketoff), posthumously, as a concert performance in Saratoga, N.Y.; Rachmaninoff left this work unfinished in 1907;
1985 - Han Werner Henze realization of Monteverdi's opera "Il ritorno d'Ulisse" (The Return of Ulysses) at the Salzburg Festival;
2003 - Judith Weir: "The Voice of Desire" for voice and piano, at an afternoon BBC Proms concert at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, with mezzo-soprano Alice Coote and pianist Julius Drake;
2003 - O'Connor: Violin Concerto No. 6 ("Old Brass"), at an evening BBC Proms concert at Royal Albert Hall in London, with the Academy of St. Martin in the Fields conducted by Kenneth Sillito and the composer as soloist;
1922 - Founding of the International Society for Contemporary Music in after a Festival of Contemporary Music in Salzburg, Austria (with the Society's central office to be located in London).
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About Composers Datebook®
Host John Birge presents a daily snapshot of composers past and present, with timely information, intriguing musical events and appropriate, accessible music related to each.
He has been hosting, producing and performing classical music for more than 25 years. Since 1997, he has been hosting on Minnesota Public Radio's Classical Music Service. He played French horn for the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra and performed with them on their centennial tour of Europe in 1995. He was trained at the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Eastman School of Music and Interlochen Arts Academy.