Sir Anthony Hopkins “And The Waltz Goes On” performed by Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra

Sir Anthony Hopkins (1937 – )

Sir Anthony Hopkins is a Welsh actor, director, producer and a composer. He started taking piano lessons when he was six years old. Hopkins worked hard at the piano. When he was 12 years old he began improvising on the piano with dissonant chords and began working on developing melodic lines which he would then write down on manuscript paper. In 1964 Hopkins was working as an actor at the Playhouse Theatre in Liverpool. He would often arrive early before everyone else in the morning when the cleaning ladies were there. There was an old piano in the theatre and he would sit down and improvise melodies. One day he came up with a waltz tune. Someone heard him and asked who wrote the tune. Hopkins said that he made it up. For years the piece was never premiered because Anthony Hopkins didn’t think the piece was good enough. In 2008 he scored the piece entitled “And The Waltz Goes On” for full orchestra. Hopkin’s wife Stella contacted violinist André Rieu and sent him the score. On July, 3rd, 2011 it got its premiere (50 years after its composition).

André Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra

André Rieu is a Dutch violinist and conductor from Maastricht who is well known for his famous Johann Strauss Orchestra. He graduated from the Brussels Conservatory with a first prize in violin. While he was studying music at University, he performed Franz Lehár’s Gold and Silver Waltz. The audience reaction was wonderful and he decided to play more waltz music. in 1978 he created the Maastricht Salon Orchestra and played with the Limburg Symphony Orchestra. in 1987 he formed the now famous Johann Strauss Orchestra as well as his own publishing company. The orchestra and Andre Rieu are very popular and regularly give sold out performances. André Rieu sets up the stage and the lighting before each concert and spends a lot of money making sure everything looks perfect. At some of his concerts they even serve real champagne in wine glasses to the audience members.

Here is a performance of André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra performing Anthony Hopkin’s “And the Waltz Goes On”.

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Franz Schubert – Kupelweiser Waltz

Franz Schubert (1797-1828)

Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer. He composed piano sonatas, waltzes,various other dances, symphonies, string trios, piano trios, quartets, quintets, and more than 600 German Art Songs (or lieder). Today Schubert is known for his ‘Trout’ Quintet, his chamber music, and his more than 600 songs.

In 1826 Schubert was at Mr. Kupelweiser’s wedding. He played a waltz but never wrote it down. The waltz was passed down by ear for several generations. In the 20th century Richard Strauss (a friend of a distant relative of Kupelweiser) was asked to transcribe the waltz. He wrote down the melody and harmonized it adding a few of his own harmonic touches to the music.

Here is the ‘Kupelweiser’ waltz played by a pianist from a youtube recording. I don’t know the name of the pianist who is playing the waltz.

Confidencias – Ernesto Nazareth

Ernesto Nazareth (1863-1934)

A Brazilian composer who is best known for the tangos that he wrote.  Nazareth also wrote waltzes and polkas.  He worked for a time as a pianist playing for silent films.  Nazareth’s tangoes and other music is full of beautiful melodies and infectious dance rhythms.  Ernesto Nazareth’s tangoes established him as one of the most influential Brazilian composers of the 20th century.

Confidencias means Confidences.  The piece is melancholy.  The title of the piece refers to lost opportunities in life.  This particular piece is a hesitation waltz.   I decided to post this piece because I want people to know about this composer (who I think is not as well known as he should be).  I also think this piece is very beautiful.

The pianist on this recording is  Iara Behs.  She is one of the foremost pianists in Brazil.  You can buy the recording of this piece and other pieces by Nazareth on Amazon.com.  It is an excellent recording.  I have a copy of this recording and I highly recommend it.