The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Jr.
Annen Polka, Op.117
For String Quartet or Piano Quintet or Piano Trio
Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899), of course, is quite well known. What is not well-known is that perhaps as much as half his music was never intended for the large symphony orchestra but was conceived with a small ensemble in mind--a string quartet, a piano trio or perhaps a piano quintet. It is in this spirit that we we are pleased to present our three new arrangements.
The Annen Polka was composed in 1852, while Strauss was still making his way and generally performing with only a small group of players. One thing is for sure and that is almost as soon as he would compose a waltz or a polka at his piano, Strauss would start making arrangements. First for whatever group he planned to perform it with and then for the many other combinations which his publishers demanded.
It was on the occasion of the public celebration of the Festival of St. Anne (July 26, 1852) that this work was first performed in Vienna at its huge municipal park, the Prater. Hundreds of acres in size, the Prater then contained (and still does today)many restaurants, bandstands, a race track and several other amenities. It was at one of these bandstands during the festival that Strauss' group performed it and hence the reason for its name. (Interestingly, Strauss Sr. had also written a polka for the same festival some ten years earlier. Both works are well-known.)
The Annen Polka is what the Viennese called a "Polka Francais"--a much more refined dance than the raucous German polka. It is a relatively short work (about 4½ minutes--our sound-bites offers about ¼ of it) and makes a lovely encore. We offer it in three different arrangements: For string quartet, for piano trio and for piano quintet or sextet (2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Piano, also optional bass part.)
String Quartet: $11.95
Piano Trio $11.95
Piano Quintet or Piano Sextet $19.95