From July 10th to July 20th St. Petersburg hosts the Big Waltz Festival. The international music festival is 7 years old. It revived the tradition Johann Strauss gave rise to in the middle of the 19th century – the tradition of summer seasons in the residences and palaces of Russian emperors.
In summer 1856 Johann Strauss for the first time performed in the emperor residence in Pavlovsk. His concerts were huge success and after that throughout the period of 11 years, the “Waltz King” — Johann Strauss – made concert tours to St. Petersburg. Many of his works of the great Austrian composer were for the first time performed in Russia.
This year one of the festival’s concerts is called “Two Waltz Kings”. The Hermitage State Orchestra conducted by Alexei Karabanov performs waltzes by Pyotr Tchaikovsky from ballets “The Sleeping Beauty”. “The Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker” and famous waltzes and polkas by Johann Strauss including “Vienna blood”, “The Pleasure train”, “A life of an artists” and “The Emperor Waltz”. We hear from the artistic director of the festival Yulia Kantor who will tell us how the idea of the concert came about.
“Alexei Karabanov is an inventive conductor, he took part in the festival from the very first one which was 8 years ago. When we discussed the theme of this year’s festival he came up with the idea of a dialogue between of Tchaikovsky and Strauss’ music. Indeed the most popular and frequently performed Russian composer close to the waltz music is Tchaikovsky. A part of the concert will be dedicated to his music and to some extend it will be an anthology of his dance pieces. The second part of the concert is dedicated to Johann Strauss, a favorite Western composer in Russia in the 19th and in the 20th centuries. It is interesting for us to see how these two composers complement each other”.
For more than 20 years Alexei Karabanov had been conductor of the Admiralty Orchestra of the Leningrad Marine base. With this collective he took part in festivals of military orchestras in Europe. Today concerts of maestro Karabanov himself have become part of the cultural life of St. Petersburg. And here is how the Pleasure train polka by Johann Strauss was performed by the Admiralty orchestra. The conductor is Alexei Karabanov.
Source:The Voice of Russia