The idea of an orchestral composition associated with Johann Strauß, the symbol of pleasurable, cheerful music on the highest level, came to me many years ago. It was a recurring dream: Johann Strauß’ “musical Gestalt” kept shimmering in my own musical visions.
At that time I was also intensively involved with twelve-tone music and generally avant-garde ideas, which was forbidden then in East Germany and the socialist countries; so it could only happen in secret. That annoyed me greatly.
Later on, sounds came along which I heard as the initial notes of Bach’s Art of Fugue. Bach “calmed” my conscience, so to speak – and yet I blocked myself internally from putting my dream-vision on paper as a composition. But the vision pursued me for years until I drafted the first sketches for orchestra in London in 1991 and finished the full score in Berlin.
Two worlds oscillate in this piece in a surrealistic way – two epochs which commingle: the world of Johann Strauß’s time and ours, with Bach as a bridge.
Translated by Grant Chorley, 2013