In operettas such as Die Fledermaus
, the younger Johann Strauss became the prime exponent of the so-called ‘golden age’ of Viennese operetta. His counterpart in the ‘silver age’ was Franz Lehár (1870–1948), composer of Die lustige Witwe
(‘The merry widow’, 1905). Though Lehár’s output was heavily weighted towards the theatre, he too began as the composer of independent dances and marches. Unlike Strauss he was Viennese only by adoption, having been born in the Danube town of Komáron, Hungary—today Komárno, Slovakia. It was after his move to Vienna as Bandmaster of the 26th Austro-Hungarian Infantry Regiment that he was commissioned to compose a waltz for a Gold und Silber
(‘Gold and silver’) Carnival Ball in 1902. The result was the eponymous waltz, a richly melodic and brilliantly orchestrated work that gloriously captures the opulence of the occasion for which it was composed.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 1998