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ClassicsOnline Home » STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 5
Josef Strauss (1827 - 1870)
Edition Vol. 5
 Quadrille uber beliebte Motive der komischen Oper "Die Großherzogin von Gerolstein" von
(Quadrille after favourite motifs from the comic opera
"La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein" by Jacques Offenbach) op.
In order to have another successful piece for the visitors to Paris for
the great World's Fair of 1867,
Jacques Offenbach and his librettists dashed off the opera buffa La Grande-Duchesse and, at the censor's
request, added the words de Gerolstein to the title. In this way, the
burlesque story was relegated to a fantasy land and none of the visitors to the
World's Fair could claim that it was aimed at their country.
But naturally this Gerolstein was a caricature of a middle European grand-duchy.
By the mid-nineteenth century, there was hardly any need to caricature the remaining tiny states, as they had
already become a parody of themselves long before.
In Offenbach's operetta, a wilful,
pretty and unmarried grand-duchess keeps postponing the requirement that she
make an appropriate match with an aristocratic suitor. She is in love instead with a simple soldier and
right away promotes her Fritz to
General. The young man, however, loves a peasant girl and spurns the duchess' hand. He is then
immediately demoted again to a mere soldier. Now an open conflict breaks out with the dismissed
General Bourn, who is
ready to wage war anyway under any pretext against any enemy. All is not well that ends well: the duchess remains
unmarried and Gerolstein remains the way it was until the next scandal.
The work contains a major role, that of the grand-duchess, which the
zestful diva Hortense Schneider
modelled after her far-from-chaste life. The premiere on 12 April 1897 was, as expected, a
triumphant success. The drama had, finally, political meaning as well: when
Prince Bismarck attended the operetta, he was inspired not by the diva Hortense
but by the story. He is reported to have said:
"We will rid ourselves of the Gerolsteins, soon there will be no more. I am thankful to the Parisian artists for
showing the world the way it laughably was."
From Paris, Offenbach's opera buffa started on
its triumphant tour through the European states in 1867: in Vienna the work was first performed on 13 May 1867 in the Theater an der Wien with Marie
Geistinger as the diva. The Paris success was repeated in Vienna, where the political message received less attention than the droll parody of a warlike state.
As always, after the evening of the premiere, Josef Strauss was inspired
to write a quadrille containing
the motifs of the work as soon as possible. In the case of La Grande-Duchesse de Gerolstein this was not at all
difficult for him: Jacques Offenbach's music could have served as the basis for numerous quadrilles.
Josef cleverly chose the most
effective motifs and thus made Offenbach's success his own with the premiere of the Gerolstein-Quadrille on 7 June 1867 in the Volksgarten. The piano score for the
quadrille had already been made available to music stores on 23 May.
 Die Marketenderin. Polka francaise (The Camp Follower. French Polka)
Josef Strauss chose the striking character of a camp follower as the
title for a polka composition on two
occasions: once in 1859, when he presented a polka-mazurka called Die
Marketenderin vom Wienerwald to the public at the 'Grosser Zeisig' establishment on 25 May, and
then in the early summer of 1866: the second time, however, it was a French
Polka. The press review mentions only the polka-mazurka, which was praised as a
"delightful, charming and fiery piece of music" in the Wiener Theaterzeitung on 9 July 1859. This work belongs to
the numerous works by Josef Strauss which remained unpublished and which, therefore, must be presumed lost.
The French Polka Die Marketenderin fits right into the scene of
events in the
1866, when the Danube
monarchy's troops, divided into a Northern Army and Southern Army, were
deployed in Bohemia and Italy, respectively, and thus mobilised for the impending
war against the Prussians, on the one hand, and the Italians, on the other. In
this turbulent time, in all likelihood on 22 June 1866 in the Volksgarten, the Marketenderin
French Polka was first performed for the public. The piano score of the work,
issued on the same day, shows on the title page a plucky camp follower (Cf.
Austrian dictionary: "a woman offering schnapps and accompanying a
military unit, today only an infantry band") before an encampment. The polka is by no means
warlike; quite the contrary, it is about a lovely, rather capricious young
woman who maintained her gaiety and female charms even in the midst of a group
 Vorwarts! Polka schnell (Forward! Quick Polka) op. 127
In the summer of 1862, Josef Strauss had to travel to Russia unexpectedly to replace his brother as concert
director at the Vauxhall Pavillion in Pavlovsk, near St Petersburg. Johann had sent word
that he was sick and wanted to return to Vienna as soon as possible. Upon his
arrival in Pavlovsk, 'Pepi' was very surprised, as he stated in a letter, to find that his
brother was not 'sick' at all. Nevertheless, Johann insisted on going back home immediately. On 6 August 1862, after a brief report on
his debut on 2 August, Josef Strauss wrote to publisher Carl Haslinger about his future plans:
"I am writing a polka-mazurka here, a polka, a quadrille, and a
fantasy piece with a sighing, pining cello and an enthusiastically twanging
From the programmes for his Pavlovsk concerts, it can be surmised that
Josef Strauss did, indeed,
fulfil his intentions. He took the polka-mazurka Brennende Liebe (Ardent Love), op. 129,
with him back to Vienna; the polka, to which he had given the title Vorwarts! (Forward!), he presented for the
first time on
Pavlovsk. After his return to his home city, Josef Strauss scheduled his first appearance on 9 November 1862 at the 'Sperl' dance
hall and for this concert chose
the following novelties: the Freuden-Grusse waltz, op. 128; the Brennende Liebe
polka-mazurka, the Vorwarts! polka, and in addition to this, a Japanesischer-Marsch (Japanese March), which
he had also composed in Pavlovsk. In the highly detailed review of 'Pepi's' return engagement at the
appeared in the theatre trade newspaper Zwischenakt on 11 November 1862, mention was made only of the Freuden-Grusse waltz and the Japanesischer-Marsch
(which unfortunately must be presumed missing since that time). According to Franz Sabay's notes,
the first performance of the Vorwarts! polka in Vienna took place at a benefit concert by
the Strauss brothers on 22 November 1862. On this evening, Johann made his first public appearance
since his summer vacation,
which he had used for his marriage to Jetty Treffz and their honeymoon, and he played, among other things,
his Carnevals-Botschafter (Carnival Ambassador) Waltz, op. 270,
and the amusing Demolirer-Polka (Demolition Polka), op.269. Josef’s polka was a welcome
addition to the programme. This work had already been printed by Haslinger on
 Geheime Anziehungskrafte (Dynamiden). Walzer (Secret Powers of
Attraction, or Dynamiden. Waltz) op.173
The Geheime Anziehungskrafte (Dynamiden) Waltz, which Josef Strauss wrote for the 1865 Industrialists' Ball and
which was played for the first time on 30 January at the Redoutensaal at the Imperial
Palace, ventured into realms not explored as a rule by dance music. Perhaps it was
the title, suggested by the composer, that was to extend the traditional waltz
form to the boundaries of symphonic music: Geheime Anziehungskrafte, which he also called Dynamiden,
following a suggestion by mechanical engineer J.F. Redtenbach. Obviously, swirling atoms were
on his mind when he penned this
work. Josef Strauss perceived in
this composition downright
uncanny, supernatural forces, which wish to hide behind what appears to be reality. Accordingly, even the
introduction to the waltz builds to a dream-like effect: a soft call awakens a
feeling of longing, a powerful escalation turns it into a complete display of emotion.
Then a cautious, controlled passage leads into the waltz, which does so
nevertheless very softly, as if sounded from afar: finally the intense main motif of
the waltz begins, only to subside again immediately, and is only carried
forward by the marked rhythm of the accompaniment; it modulates into a minor key, but lifts
itself out of melancholy right away, building to a shining triumph!
A masterpiece! It is certainly no coincidence that Josef Strauss' Dynamiden waltz is unmistakably echoed in Richard
A few days after the premiere of the Geheime Anziehungskrafte (Dynamiden) waltz, Josef Strauss lost
consciousness at his home. A new attack of his persistent illness warned the composer that he
would face an early death.
 Defilir. Marsch (Parade. March) op. 53
In 1849, shortly after the revolution was crushed in Vienna, Josef Strauss categorically refused in a letter to
his father to embark on a career as a soldier. However, nine years later, the
former revolutionary, then a music director, composed the Defilir-Marsch,
although clearly the Strauss Orchestra had never participated in any parade march for
any commander or statesman. The civilian orchestra director had an incentive
to compose not only one but several military marches: the Strauss orchestra
performed at most festival concerts during the 1850s, especially at the festivities
in the Volksgarten, alternating with a military band. For the most part, such
occasions called for, at the very least, a joint production by both musical groups,
and since the infantry regiment band was organised almost exclusively as a
brass band, it was natural to expect a precisely articulated, rhythmic march to be
performed at these joint productions. Ideally suited to this purpose was the Defilir-Marsch,
first performed on 6 June 1858 at Unger's Casino as part of a joint programme together with the military
band under band director Josef
Kovacs (infantry regiment No.27), and later played many times with the same group in the
Volksgarten. At the Strauss benefit concert on 15 June 1858 in the Volksgarten,
Josef Strauss presented the public with an amazing, first-rate programme. It
included a medley of Richard Wagner's opera Tannhauser and a concert waltz titled Ideale
(which unfortunately did not appear in print and was ultimately destroyed by Eduard in 1907), as
well as other novelties; once again the finale was the Defilir-Marsch, performed jointly
by the Strauss and Kovacs
groups. The review of this concert in the Theaterzeitung of 17 June 1858, states:
"The finale of the musical production consisted of Strauss'
Defilir-Marsch, which had to be played da capo. It has already been promoted to
 Csikos. Quadrille (Csikos. Quadrille) op. 37
An engineer by training and later a music director, Josef Strauss'
the sport of
horse racing is corroborated by numerous compositions. In the spring of 1857, 'Pepi' dedicated his Csikos-Quadrille to the daring riders of
the Puszta. (The title page
illustration for the first edition of the score of this striking work shows one of these horsemen on a
fiery steed under a dramatic cloud cover.)
Understandably, the music of this quadrille is crafted in the
'Hungarian' style, not in the sense of true Hungarian folk music, which was first made known to
music lovers by Bela Bartok and Zoltan Kodoly in the twentieth century,
but rather in the style
of popular works preferred by Gypsies.
'Pepi' Strauss not only employed rousing and striking motifs, he also incorporated sounds suggestive of
whips and spurs to render his Csikos as realistic as possible throughout the
six parts of his quadrille. Properly played, the piece is still strikingly effective,
even now, when a cowboy or horseman on his steed in the heart of the Puszta is
a rare sight.
According to a report in the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 31 May 1857, the premiere of the Csikos-Quadrille took place the following
day, that is, on 1 June 1857 in
the afternoon concert at Unger's Casino in Hernals.
 Huldigungslieder. Walzer (Songs of Tribute. Waltz) op. 255
before their trip to Russia, Josef and Johann Strauss gave their final concert of the season in
the flower halls of the Gartenbaugesellschaft (Garden Society) on Vienna's Ringstrasse. On the programme appeared, among other works, two pieces dedicated to
King Ludwig of Portugal (1838-1889): the Konigslieder (Songs for a King) waltz, op. 334, by Johann, and the Huldigungslieder waltz, by Josef Strauss. These
were belated thirtieth birthday wishes to the Regent who came into the world in Lisbon (on 31 October 1838) and belonged to the House of Coburg, whose members were
scattered throughout Europe. What direct occasion there may have been for these best wishes cannot be
either in Vienna or in Lisbon.
In the reviews of the concert in the flower halls, both waltzes were
mentioned but no assessment of the
compositions was made. Whilst Johann Strauss' Konigslieder Waltz remained in the Strauss
orchestra's repertoire, later performances of the Huldigungslieder cannot be verified. All that
has been found is a
short notation with motifs from the work, signed by Josef Strauss.
 Mignon. Polka francaise (Mignon. French Polka) op. 89
As a notice in the Fremden-Blatt newspaper on 3 July 1860 proclaimed, Josef Strauss had prepared an auspicious
programme for his benefit concert scheduled for this date in the Volksgarten. At
that time, rehearsals in the Royal Opera House for the scheduled premiere of
Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde had been cancelled, since the work had been
categorised elsewhere as "unperformable." At his concert Josef Strauss offered
fragments of this work with his own arrangement. Unfortunately, this fascinating
glimpse into Viennese musical history has been lost. Even the Julius Ceasar
overture, which was written by Robert Schumann and which Josef Strauss performed at
this same evening benefit concert, has practically disappeared from the concert
repertoire of our time.
Thus the unassuming little Mignon-Polka must serve as the sole reminder of the event. It was
termed a 'new
by Josef Strauss, a sample of Viennese music of 1860, in a concert of ambitious performances of symphonic
works. Moreover, there is also a literary reference associated with this polka:
Mignon is the name of a lovely young maiden in Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meister;
she was later the heroine of an opera by Ambroise Thomas (premiered in Paris in 1866, performed in Vienna on 24 October 1868).
 Die Gazelle. Polka-Mazurka (The Gazelle. Polka-mazurka) op. 155
At the 1864 carnival revue, held on 14 February in the Volksgarten, the
Strauss brothers - Johann, Josef and Eduard - repeated their compositions played
for the first time during
that year's carnival season: these included two waltzes by Johann Strauss, following his
recovery from an illness at the beginning of 1863, as well as four of his polkas; Josef
Strauss presented four waltzes and three polkas. In addition, two works were premiered
at this concert: the Herold-Quadrille, (Herold Quadrille) op.157, and
finally the polka-mazurka Die Gazelle. Eduard contributed two carnival compositions and also
premiered the Maskentreiben polka, which did not appear in print.
At this concert, the most applauded works were the waltz masterpiece Morgenblatter (Morning Journals) op.
279; the rousing quick polka Vergnugungszug (Pleasure Train), op. 281, by
Johann, and the lively Rudolfsheimer-Polka, op. 152, by Josef Strauss. However, Josef
Strauss was also very satisfied with the warm reception given to his unusual
polka-mazurka Die Gazelle. It was not the speed of the African animal, known in Europe only in zoos, that
inspired the composer, but its ability to leap. Josef Strauss in fact succeeded in imitating the
leaps of a gazelle in
all four sections of the composition. The polka-mazurka appeared in print in March 1864.
All reference to the gazelle's homeland, i.e., Africa, was absent from the title page of the piano score. The time of
the great expeditions to this continent had not yet arrived.
 Flammen. Walzer (Flames. Waltz) op. 101
The Flammen waltz was composed by Josef Strauss no later than
may have been inspired by a series of devastating fires in central Vienna, but that is not certain. In any
case, the composer did not make this interesting work available for the ball repertoire during
the 1861 carnival season, but performed it first at the carnival revue on 17 February 1861 in the Volksgarten. It was published in July 1861. The
work soon disappeared from the Strauss orchestra's programmes.
 Maiblumchen. Polka-Mazurka (May Flowers. Polka-mazurka) op. 17
On 25 Apri11856, the Fremden-Blatt newspaper announced the
reopening of the garden
esplanade at Unger's Casino in the suburb of Hernals. The first concert, under the Direction of J. Strauss,
was scheduled for Sunday, 27 April. Since Johann Strauss had already left for
his first season in Pavlovsk near St Petersburg, "J. Strauss" presumably
referred to his brother Josef. Even the series of new pieces scheduled for this concert seemed to
indicate Josef Strauss: along with the last pieces he had composed, such as Avantgarde-Marsch
(Avantgarde March), op. 14, and Die Vorgeiger (The First Violinist, or The Leader), op. 16, a
new polka-mazurka, titled
Maiblumchen, was promised. Whether this work was actually performed on this date cannot be confirmed. It
was first mentioned on 15 May in the Wiener Theaterzeitung, specifically in a
review of the first spring festival in the Volksgarten that had taken place on 13 May. "The
lovely Maibluthen-Mazurka (!) had many encores." This confirmed that Josef
was perfectly capable of replacing his brother Johann whilst the latter was in
Whether Maiblumchen or Maibluthen, in either case the
title of the polka referred to the lilies of the valley which are in splendid full bloom around Vienna in the spring.
English translation by:
Dr. Luis de la Vega
Professional Translating Services
Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
Phone: (305) 371-7887
Fax: (305) 381-9824
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STRAUSS, Josef: Edition - Vol. 5