(1825-1899) also known as Johann Strauss Jr., the Younger, the Son (German: Sohn), Johann Baptist Strauss, son of Johann Strauss I, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas.
Autograph musical quotation signed, one page - on the verso of his visiting card, 4 x 2,5 inch, Schönau, 21.06.n.y. [after 1891], five bars from his only opera `Ritter Pázmán` with the lyrics "O, gold`ne Frucht am Lebensbaum", written, signed and inscribed in black ink "Johann Strauss", attractively mounted (removable) for fine display with a picture of Johann Strauss II (altogether 8,25 x 11,75 inch), with mild signs of age wear - in fine condition.
Strauss’s only opera, the grand three-act `Ritter Pázmán` (Knight Pásmán), based on János Arany’s narrative poem Pázmán lovag, premiered at the Vienna Hofoper on January 1, 1892. Unfortunately, "Strauss was no judge of librettos, and …fundamentally an instrumental composer, with neither an eye for the dramatic demands of the stage nor a sure feeling for dramatic vocal writing," (New Grove Dictionary). Ritter Pázmán was panned by the critics and not performed again in Strauss’s lifetime following its Berlin premier on June 4, 1892.
Our quotation is the opening bars of Eva’s waltz-ariette in Act 2 that begins "O, gold’ne Frucht am Lebensbaum" ["Oh, golden fruit on the Tree of Life"]. In her ariette, Eva, wife of the elderly Ritter Pásmán “expresses the conflict of her feelings on discovering that she has been courted, not as she had believed by a young huntsman who had accidentally trespassed on the estates of her husband, but by Karl Robert of Anjou, King of Hungary. Strauss evidently composed Eva’s Act 2 ariette in the winter of 1890/91, for writing in a letter to [his publisher Fritz] Simrock on 3 December 1890 he mentioned: [Hungarian playwright Ludwig] ‘Dóczi is writing a text for the waltz intended for Fräulein [mezzo-soprano Marie] Renard in the 2nd act, which I have to compose as soon as I receive it’. Even before the première of Ritter Pásmán, this ariette for Eva had been marked out as ‘a little gem’ by the correspondent for the London Times (25.12.1891), who had attended a private play-through of the opera’s music at Strauss’s home on 23 December. Ludwig Speidel, the critic for the Fremden-Blatt, filed a more detailed report on this scene in his first-night review, published on 3 January 1892: ‘This waltz, in E-flat major, is certainly an utterly charming piece, and it is wonderful to see what richness of feeling is contained in this gracious, soaring, extended music, which soon becomes leaping and flirtatious. The ritardando, that languishing, teasing delaying of motion which Strauss introduced into dance music with fine taste and as a most intimate attraction, is also used with very good effect in the waltz aria,’” (The Johann Strauss Edition Volume 45 program notes, Naxos, https://www.naxos.com/mainsite/blurbs_reviews.asp?item_code=8.223245&catNum=223245&filetype=About%20this%20Recording&language=English, Kemp).
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