Bilse: Waltzes, Marches, Polkas / Simonis, Cologne West German Radio SO

Regular price $16.99
Added to Cart! View cart or continue shopping.


BILSE Sturmmarsch Galopp. Baumgartenallee Polka. Marienwalzer. Nur mit Dir. Schlesische Lieder. Catharina Quadrille. Die Fürstensteiner. Mit Bomben und Granaten. Winterflocken Galopp. Victoria Walzer. Königspolonaise. Die Provinzialen. Concerthaus Polka. Schützenmarsch Christian Simonis, cond; Cologne West German RSO cpo 777 341 (72:10)


You’ve got to hand it to cpo. I don’t know where they come up with these obscure Romantic composers, but here’s another one. The long-lived, Silesian-born Benjamin Bilse (1816–1902) was known in his time interchangeably as the “Hungarian Strauss,” the “Bohemian Strauss,” and the “Danish Strauss.” A native of Liegnitz, Bilse became steeped in the folk music of Poland and Silesia, founding the Bilse Orchestra in 1842. As was not uncommon for small-town musicians of the time, Bilse was proficient on many instruments and pretty much taught himself composition by studying and conducting the works of contemporaries and peers.


If the foregoing paints Bilse as a provincial, backcountry bandleader, the impression is a false one. By the 1860s, we find him in Berlin, a highly popular composer and presenter of public concerts, an important impresario of musical events, and a hardworking organizer of music societies and organizations. He is even credited with having played a significant role in the establishment of the Berlin Philharmonic.


As a composer, Bilse’s ambitions seemed to be more modest. Like the Danish waltz king, Christian Lumbye, the Austrian Joseph Lanner, the French Waldteufel, and the Austrian Strauss clan, Bilse contented himself with writing waltzes, polkas, and marches for the entertainment of mass audiences. And while such works may have been aimed at satisfying popular tastes, they were superbly crafted—some of them miniature masterpieces—and the ensembles assembled to perform them were of the highest professional caliber.


This is feel-good music. If you love a good John Philip Sousa march, you will joyously feather-dust your furniture to Bilse’s Mit Bomben und Granaten (“With Bombs and Grenades”) and Swiffer your floors to the Sturmmarsch Galopp . My sense is that unlike the waltzes of Johann Strauss II, Bilse’s waltz and polka numbers, such as the Victoria Walzer and the Concert House Polka , were less intended to be actually danced to than they were intended to be listened to as stylized, self-sustaining concert pieces. Of their type, these are masterfully written works, highly polished, handsomely scored with an ear for instrumental color, and tremendously engaging.


Based on the milieu of composers to which Bilse belonged and the musical genre to which he contributed, you will know whether this sort of thing appeals to you or not. If so, I can tell you that the performances and the recording are top drawer, and I, personally, haven’t had so much plain old fun listening to a CD in quite some time. Strongly recommended.


FANFARE: Jerry Dubins


Product Description:


  • Catalog Number: 777341-2


  • UPC: 761203734122


  • Label: CPO


  • Composer: Benjamin Bilse


  • Conductor: Christian Simonis


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra



Works:


  1. Marienwalzer

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  2. Catharina Quadrille

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  3. Die Fürstensteiner

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  4. Winterflocken Galopp

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  5. Die Provinzialen

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  6. Concerthaus Polka

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  7. Schützenmarsch, Op. 13

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  8. Sturm-Marsch Galopp, Op. 6

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  9. Baumgarte-Allee Polka, Op. 23

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  10. Nur mit Dir, Op. 34

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  11. Schlesische Lieder for 2 Violins and Orchestra

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  12. Mit Bomben und Granaten

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  13. Victoria Walzer, Op. 22

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis


  14. Königs-Polonaise

    Composer: Benjamin Bilse

    Ensemble: Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra

    Conductor: Christian Simonis