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JOHANN STRAUSS Jr. (1825-1899)

Die Fledermaus: Overture (1874)

Notes by Michael-Thomas Foumai

Few composers are bestowed with the title, “king.” With over 500 waltzes, the Austrian composer Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) takes the crown as “Waltz King.” Strauss composed the three-act operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat) in 1874. The convoluted plot centers on a light-hearted prank gone wrong. The title, refers to a character made to wear a bat-costume, and the embarrassment of it sets the revenge plot in motion. Premiered at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna on April 5, 1874, the 9-minute Overture features the composer's impeccable gift of melody, a bourgeois cast of dainty and verbose affairs, and an off-kilter Viennese-styled waltz.

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