Abschied von St. Petersburg

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Abschied von St. Petersburg (Farewell to St. Petersburg), opus 210, is the name of a waltz composed by Johann Strauss II. The work was first performed at a benefit concert in Pavlovsk on September 5, 1858, as part of a tour of Russia that Strauss was conducting. In keeping with the vogue then current in Russia for the French language, the work was entitled as Mes adieux a St. Petersbourgh (My Farewell to St. Petersburg). Less than a week after his return to his home city of Vienna, Strauss conducted the first Viennese performance of the work at the Vienna Volksgarten.

A critic for the Wiener Allgemeine Theaterzeitung commented on Strauss' waltz: "The waltz Abschied von St. Petersburg distinguishes itself among the newly performed compositions by its alluring themes and interesting instrumentation; the composition has a predominantly serious Slavic character [...] Strauss was accorded extraordinary amounts of applause and had to repeat each new composition two or three times."[1] However, despite the public and critical acclaim for the composition, Abschied von St. Petersburg did not remain long in the Strauss Orchestra's repertoire,[1] and it is not very well known nowadays.

In keeping with the work's title, the waltz has a rather mournful quality about it: the composition begins with a passage for solo cello,[1] which soon gives way to the melancholic opening waltz theme, a mood that is enhanced by the use of counter-melodies in the cello line. The composition does not end with a drumroll or flourish, as most of Strauss' other waltzes do, but instead fades away into the distance with a trumpet call, probably meant to symbolise the composer's carriage as it drives him away from Pavlovsk and St. Petersburg.[1]

Abschied von St. Petersburg rendered its name to a 1971 Soviet film by Yan Frid (Russian: Прощание с Петербургом, Farewell to St. Petersburg) about the composer's affair with Olga Smirnitskaya in the summer of 1857.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "STRAUSS II, J.: Edition - Vol. 34". Naxos Music Library. Retrieved 2008-11-03.