In the autumn of 1889 Johann Strauss conducted five concerts in Berlin at the newly-opened Königsbau concert hall. Prior to the composer's departure for Germany the Viennese press reported that he had sent his Berlin publisher a new waltz, entitled Hand in Hand. This title referred to a toast made in August 1889 by the Austrian Emperor, Franz Joseph I, on the occasion of his visit to the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, in which Austria had extended 'the hand of friendship' to Germany. The astute publisher, Fritz Simrock, suggested to Johann that Kaiser-Walzer might prove a more suitable title since, by not dedicating the work to either monarch, title that the Waltz King's magnificent composition was first performed in Berlin on 21 October 1889—though it should be noted that the illustrated title page of the original piano edition is emblazoned with the Austrian Imperial crown!
Picture: The German Emperor Wilhelm II (left) and the Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary (right).
Conductor: Georges Prêtre
Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker