Friday, June 5, 2015

Johann Strauss II Injects Spring Into Comedy Central's "Another Period"

Comedy Central has a new show coming this summer called Another Period. Commercials running on television to advertise the show have all been spoofs on popular modern day obsessions like Twitter, viral videos, and selfies. One of the most recent ads pokes fun at the dating application Tinder. Titled "First to Swipe Left," the scenario is a total send-up of users swiping left on their phones when not interested in the person. But this is the turn of the 20th-century, so one does it the old-fashioned way. The music featured is Johann Strauss II's "Frühlingstimmen" waltz in its instrumental form. The show premieres on Comedy Central on June 23. For more information, click here. Watch the commercial, and a performance of soprano Edita Gruberova singing the work, after the jump.

The cast of Comedy Central's Another Period.
"Another Period follows the lives of the obscenely rich Bellacourt family and their many servants in turn-of-the-century Rhode Island. Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome lead an all-star cast -- including Michael Ian Black, David Wain, Christina Hendricks, Jason Ritter and Paget Brewster -- in this historical satire about narcissistic aristocrats and the poor souls in their employ." [Source] "Another Period is an American period sitcom created by and starring Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome. It follows the lives of the Bellacourts, the first family of Newport, Rhode Island at the turn of the 20th century. Lillian (Leggero) and Beatrice (Lindhome) are sisters 'who care only about how they look, what parties they attend and becoming famous, which is a lot harder in 1902.' It is intended to be a spoof on reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians. The series was picked up for 10 episodes and is due on Comedy Central in 2015. It will be directed by Jeremy Konner, co-creator and writer of Drunk History. Ben Stiller's production company Red Hour is producing. Leggero, Lindhome, and Konner are also executive producers." [Source]

Who could swipe left looking at that
beared? Johann Strauss II in his prime.
"'Frühlingsstimmen' ('Spring's Voices,' or commonly 'Voices of Spring') is an orchestral waltz, with optional solo soprano voice, written in 1882 by Johann Strauss II, his Opus 410. Strauss dedicated the work to the pianist and composer Alfred Grünfeld. The famous coloratura soprano Bertha Schwarz (stage name Bianca Bianchi) sang this concert aria at a grand matinée charity performance at the Theater an der Wien in aid of the 'Emperor Franz Josef and Empress Elisabeth Foundation for Indigent Austro-Hungarian subjects in Leipzig.' The waltz was not a great success at its premiere, but was more successful when performed on Strauss' tour of Russia in 1886. A piano arrangement by the composer contributed much to its success beyond Vienna. Bianca Bianchi was then a famous member of the Vienna Court Opera Theatre and Strauss was sufficiently inspired to compose a new work, a waltz for solo voice, for the acclaimed singer. The result was his world-renowned 'Frühlingsstimmen' waltz which celebrated spring and remained one of the classical repertoire's most famous waltzes. The piece is sometimes used as an insertion aria in the act 2 ball scene of Strauss' operetta Die Fledermaus. The waltz makes a grand entry in the key of B-flat major with loud chords preceded with the waltz's three beats to the bar ushering the first waltz's gentle and swirling melody. The second waltz section invokes the joys of spring with the flute imitating birdsong and a pastoral scene. The plaintive and dramatic third section in F minor probably suggests spring showers whereas the fourth section that follows breaks out from the pensive mood with another cheerful melody in A-flat major. Without a coda, the familiar first waltz melody makes a grand entrance before its breathless finish, strong chords and the usual timpani drumroll and warm brass flourish. A performance lasts between seven and nine minutes." [Source]

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