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Antal Dorati / Richard Bonynge

J Strauss II: Graduation Ball; Le Beau Danube (CD)

Famous for his waltzes and polkas, the popularity of Johann Strauss has endured, not just compositions he wrote himself but music arranged by others. Strangely enough, for one of the greatest composers of dance music, he never composed a ballet. This album couples two such arrangements, both for the ballet. Antal Doráti’s arrangement, entitled "Graduation Ball", is a quirky ballet involving a girls’ school set in 1840. The school is hosting a ball for the neighbouring boys, military cadets, under the supervision of the headmistress. The French conductor Roger Désormière arranged not just music by Johann Strauss – leading with "The Blue Danube" – but also music by Johann Strauss I and Josef Strauss, father and brother, respectively, of Johann Strauss II. It was created for the Ballet Russes de Monte-Carlo and is a favourite of balletomanes whenever revived. It is conducted here by one of Decca’s greatest conductors – and researchers – of ballet music, Richard Bonynge.

Graduation Ball (arr. Antal Dorati)

Wiener Philharmoniker
Antal Dorati

Le Beau Danube (orch Désormière)

National Philharmonic Orchestra
Richard Bonygne