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Published on Apr 10, 2011
In December 1889 the opening of the festival hall within Vienna's magnificent new City Hall was to be celebrated with a grand charity ball on 12 February 1890 in aid of the poor of the city. The building was decorated with an abundance of flowers and a special platform was built to welcome royalty and the many patrons. Interestingly there were two orchestras, Eduard Strauss conducting in the rôle of Court Ball Director at one end, and Ziehrer as Military Bandmaster of the Hoch-und Deutschmeister band, which by this time had become world famous, at the other.
The first composition for this event had been reserved for Johann Strauss, Eduard introducing his brother's waltz Rathausball-Tänze. Eduard himself conducted his new polka Das tanzende Wien, O.op. This was, however, a rare occasion when it was universally recognised that Ziehrer's contribution outshone the efforts of the Strauss brothers, and its vigour and freshness have been widely appreciated ever since. The Wiener Bürger waltz introduced a novelty into composition in the use of trumpet-calls which marked the appearance and withdrawal of the civil guard.