The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles

Josef Strauss

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Sehnsucht, Op.22, Polka mazur for String Quartet

Josef Strauss (1827-1870) was the second of Johann Strauss Sr. He studied mechanical engineering, opposing his father's wish that he should enlist in the army, and embarked upon a career as an architectural draughtsman and foreman, in which field he soon distinguished himself. However, he eventually abandoned this career and became a full-time musician. A remarkably versatile, gifted and prolific composer, Johann Jr. often said: "Pepi (Josef's nickname) is the more gifted of us two; I am merely the more popular..." Josef left more than 300 original dances and marches. His pieces tend to be of a more serious character than those of his brother with his frequent use of minor keys which impart a wistful quality to his music.


Sehnsucht, the title means yearning, was composed in 1856. It was what the Viennese dubbed a Polka mazur, a cross between the traditional Polish polka, generally a dance with a quick tempo, and the mazurka, a slower Polish dance which Frederick Chopin, with his mazurkas for piano, did much to popularize throughout Europe. And, in fact, the influence of Chopin can be heard in many Viennese Polka mazurs, including the lovely Sehnsucht. While this work was premiered by a small chamber orchestra of around 15 players, Strauss immediately, as always, made arrangements for all of the common chamber music ensembles which have become every bit as successful as the original.

Parts: $13.95 





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