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Work

Fritz Kreisler

Fritz Kreisler Composer

Schön Rosmarin

Performances: 53
Tracks: 53
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Musicology:
  • Schön Rosmarin
    Year: 1910
    Genre: Other Chamber
    Pr. Instrument: Violin
Fritz Kreisler found it amusing (and, happily enough, entirely beneficial to his career) to bend the truth when it came to questions of musical authorship; critics and historians still love to pull out and dust off the ethical debate that raged when, in 1935, Kreisler admitted that he himself had composed most of the delightful miniatures for violin and piano that he had for decades been passing off as arrangements of other composers' works (Kreisler could never understand how anybody had actually been taken in by his ploy). Fewer people remember, however, how a quarter of a century earlier it had come to light that three pieces for violin and piano—then known, and still sometimes referred to, as the Three Old Viennese Melodies (First published in 1905), of which Schön Rosmarin is the third—credited to nineteenth century composer Josef Lanner were actually penned by Kreisler. When, exactly, Kreisler wrote these three delightful musical truffles is unknown; they were certainly well-established parts of his own performing repertory when, on September 15, 1910, Kreisler first copyrighted them in his own name.

Lanner was famous almost exclusively for his Ländler and his waltzes, and Schön Rosmarin is an example of the latter, cast by Kreisler in three musical paragraphs. Listening to Kreisler himself playing the piece, one is struck by the amazing elasticity of rhythm throughout the opening Grazioso passage—filled with leggiero running eighth notes (marked piano by Kreisler) that every so often make room for a delightful Luftpause after one or another of several upward melodic gestures. In the more robust middle section (forte, meno mosso), Kreisler's famous "detached" style of bowing is put on display as the broken-up hemiola gestures—making two measures of 3/4 meter into one large measure of 3/2—unfold. As this meno mosso moves forward, Kreisler allows the music to move away a little bit from otherwise ever-present G major for the first and only time; with his characteristic simplicity of approach and good-naturedness, however, he almost immediately slides right back into the home key with a final, pianissimo toss-off of the hemiola melody (typically, Kreisler himself ignores the dynamic change). A literal reprise of the opening Grazioso draws a conclusion that embodies, perfectly, the essence of latter-day Viennese gemütlichkeit.

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