The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Frei und Jung Dabei March for String Quartet
Frei und Jung Dabei appeared in his operetta Schön ist die Welt, which was a great success. It dates from 1930. Lehár’s trademark catch style and melodies are everywhere in evidence. Frei und Jung Dabei (Free and young now was one of the famous duets from the operetta. Though originally intended for a theater pit orchestra of 20 players, like the many tunes from Johann Strauss Jr’s operettas, Lehar’s were also quickly turned into all sorts of arrangements for small ensembles and could be heard all over Vienna in its cafes, restaurants and parks.
Franz Lehár (1870-1948) was born in the Hungarian village of Kormorn, then part of the Habsburg Empire of Austria-Hungary. His father was a military bandmaster. Lehár entered the Prague Conservatory where he studied violin with Anton Bennewitz and composition with Dvorak and Joseph Foerster. He also took private lessons from Zdenek Fibich. After graduating, he became an assistant to his father and eventually succeded him as director. Lehar made his name writing operettas and is generally considered the best composer from Vienna’s Silver Age of the waltz and operetta.