Deutsches Gemüthsleben op.88
2. On the beautiful Rhine I think of you /
Am schönen Rhein, gedenk ich Dein op.83
3. Under the blue sky of Italy /
Unter Italiens blauem Himmel
4. The last hours of luck /
Die letzten Glückstunden, op.100
5. From Rhine to Danube /
Vom Rhein zur Donau, op.138
6. Austria-Hungary waltz /
Österreich-Ungarn- Walzer, op. 91
Czechoslovak Chamber Duo
Pavel Burdych - violin
Zuzana Berešová - piano
The violinist, conductor, and composer Béla Kéler, by his birth name Albert Paul von Kéler, was born on 13th of February 1820 in the house no. 41 in the Town Hall Square of the city of Bartfeld (today´s Slovakian name: Bardejov). After his studies of music in Levoča, Debrecen and Prešov, he obtained the position of violinist at the "Theater an der Wien" in Vienna. At the same time, he studied harmony, counterpoint and started to compose. Since 1854, when he received the position of conductor of the Johann Sommer orchestra in Berlin, he used the name Béla Kéler. Later he became leader of the military band under Count Mazzuchelli and the Duke of Nassau. He spent the years of 1870-1872 as a leader of the spa-orchestra in Wiesbaden. He performed in all European cultural centres, such as London, Manchester, Copenhagen, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich, Dresden, Leipzig, etc. Still, he often and gladly returned to his home city of Bartfeld. Kéler wrote dozens of waltzes, marches, csárdáses, polkas, songs, galops, overtures and several "musical paintings", such as the idyllic Carpathians, his first important composition which praises the Slovakian nature. Kéler´s music, at the time of its creation, could hold its own with the Vienna masters Joseph Lanner and the "Waltz King" Johann Strauss jun. His manuscripts now belong in parts to the collection of the Šariš Museum in Bardejov and the National Széchényi Library in Budapest. In 2014, the Béla-Kéler-Society was founded in Bardejov. The purpose of the society is the presentation of the inheritance of Béla Kéler.
In his early stage of composing, Béla Kéler wrote 49 waltzes without opus number, mainly for piano. Since 1845 he wrote 27 waltzes for orchestra with opus number. Generally he transcribed them for violin and piano, piano solo, and piano at four hands. All waltzes have a fixed structure: Introduction, five independent dances and finale. The waltz German emotional life op. 88 was completed by Kéler at 29th of March 1870. It´s manuscript belongs to the collection of the Šariš museum at Bardejov. The first performance took place at 21st of March 1871 in Wiesbaden. Kéler performed the waltz On the beautiful Rhine I think of you, op. 83 for the first time at 28th of August 1868, after his return from Bartfeld. The waltz represents a memory on Kéler´s home town. The introducing notes of this waltz are engraved on Kéler´s gravestone in Wiesbaden. In its quality this composition was often compared to Johann Strauss´ waltz "The blue Danube". It is unknown when the waltz Under the blue sky of Italy was composed. Obviously this is one of Kéler´s last waltzes, which has not been printed and didn´t get an opus number. The single dances have uncommon names. In the finale "Addio Italia" the Neapolitan song "Santa Lucia" is quoted. The waltz The last hours of luck, op. 100 was finished by Kéler at 22nd of November 1872 and one month later was performed for the first time. In the introduction an imaginary clock strikes eleven times into the last hour of gambling in a casino of Wiesbaden, described in five dances. The work ends by quoting the German song "So good bye, you silent domicile". Kéler finished the waltz From Rhine to Danube, op. 138 at 17th of March 1876. By German and Austrian motifs he gives an atmosphere of the two European rivers at which he worked. The composition Austria-Hungary waltz, op. 91 was finished by Kéler at 25th of January 1871. In the introduction he presents Hungarian and Austrian folk-songs. During the waltz he uses motifs of Austrian and Hungarian nature in impressive contrast and ends with fragments of the Rákóczi march and the Emperor hymn by Haydn.