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La plus belle. Valse. [Without publisher or place, c.1890].

Waldteufel Title Pages 1

February 2015

Émile Waldteufel (b.Strasbourg, 9 December 1837; d.Paris, 12 February 1915)

Waldteufel, the bicentenary of whose death falls on February 12th, was the most successful waltz composer of the late nineteenth century.  Coming from a musical family – his father and elder brother were dance composers – Waldteufel studied at the Paris Conservatoire from the age of sixteen and gained early employment with a piano manufacturer and playing at soirées.  In 1865 he became court pianist to the Empress Eugénie and one year later conductor of the state balls.  The turning point in his career came however in 1874, with an introduction to the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and the subsequent publication in London of his waltzes Manolo and Bien Aimés, the latter dedicated to the Prince and Princess.

Thereafter his works, eventually amounting to nearly 300, appeared simultaneously in Paris and London.  In 1885 he appeared as conductor at Rivière’s Promenade Concerts at Covent Garden.