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Fritz Kreisler

Fritz Kreisler Composer

The Old Refrain (transcr. of Johann Brandl's Du alter Stefansturm from 'Der liebe Augustin')

Performances: 8
Tracks: 8
  • The Old Refrain (transcr. of Johann Brandl's Du alter Stefansturm from 'Der liebe Augustin')
    Year: 1915
    Genre: Other Chamber
    Pr. Instruments: Violin & Piano
It is amusing—and possibly also an apt commentary on the sometimes backwards-seeming nature of musical ethics—to note that, while a noisy controversy broke out in the 1930s when it became widely known amongst critics and the general public that Fritz Kreisler had in fact composed the beloved bon-bons for violin and piano, which had been attributed to obscure and long-dead composers, such as Gaetano Pugnani and François Francoeur, nobody seemed to mind at all when it was revealed that some of the works Kreisler attributed solely to himself were actually, in large part, music written by other composers! Such a work is The Old Refrain, a charming free adaptation of a bit of music by nineteenth-century German tunesmith Johann Brandl.

True to its name, The Old Refrain is an example of a refrain song, a traditional ditty in which a catchy refrain tune is added to the end of each musical verse (there are two verses in The Old Refrain, or more properly, one verse given twice). In this case, the refrain tune is marked alla Viennese, and it follows a musical verse in which the violin sings a Ländler-esque line in quintessential Kreisler laid-back style; the piano provides a warm six-bar introduction before each verse. Kreisler made a revised version of The Old Refrain, many years after he originally penned it, in which he remade the second verse and its corresponding refrain into intricate and elaborate things, full of ornaments, countermelodies, and trills; but more often than not, it is the simpler early version, heard in Kreisler's own recordings, that violinists choose to play.

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