A look at the Fantasie, Op. 2 of Franz Strauss

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As noted in my recent article on the Theme and Variations, Op. 13, of Franz Strauss, in 2003 I released an album I titled Les Adieux, which included all the works of Franz Strauss for horn and piano that were published during his lifetime. As we produced the album we opted to split the theme and variation works up into tracks so that students could find each variation easily.

Subsequently, these works — including the Fantasie uber den Sehnsuchtwaltzer von Schubert, Op. 2 featured in this article — were made available as a downloads and in this case you had to purchase seven tracks to get the complete work! And then it was put on YouTube as seven separate videos….

I am not wild about YouTube audio quality, but that it is on YouTube in this manner does however make a focused look at this work possible. The version I recorded is as edited by Thomas Bacon, available from McCoy’s Horn Library. There is another older publication (Belwin), but it does not have as many sections of the piece and it is not in the same key either. The work was published before 1851 (a PDF timeline of the published works of Franz Strauss may be found here), it is one of his first two published works.

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The work begins with a dramatic introduction.

The theme is taken from Schubert. Sehnsuchtwaltzer translates as “longing waltzes,” which gives you some sense of the character desired. Also note the repeat is only on the second section of the theme, which I feel if it was important enough to Franz Strauss to request it we should do.

Variation I is Con brio…

… and Variation II is Con fuoco. They both need some speed! But note, the piano interludes should be at the original base tempo.

Following that we have this tuneful Andante con moto section. Franz Strauss also played guitar and I always thing this section has much of that sound in the piano.

And now he really changes things up with a Rondo Russien. It is sort of out of the blue with what always seems to me in the middle a Russian hymn.

The final section, sort of a final variation but with the melody not very obvious, is marked piu mosso. This I like to start slowish and end at the fastest speed you can manage, ending dramatically!

And there it is. This work is performed pretty often and I think is an audience favorite.   I still have plenty of these CDs for sale and do check out more from this and other of my CDs on this YouTube channel.