Joseph Hellmesberger (1828–1893) was a member of a celebrated Viennese family. His father Georg was the most popular Austrian violinist of his day and the first leader of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Joseph followed a similar path, founding the Hellmesberger Quartet and holding various eminent positions. He in turn had a son, Joseph junior, who became conductor of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and a composer of ballets and operettas. The elder Joseph’s compositions were mostly for the violin or strings, as with Ball-Szene
(‘Ball Scene’). It is based on a violin study by the violinist Joseph Mayseder (1789–1863) and is scored for strings, harps (with optional woodwind), timpani and triangle. Its whirling main theme makes virtuoso demands on the violins and frames a more relaxed central section.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 1998