The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Jr.
We have been unable to find a recording by a string quartet or string quintet. Ours is by a string quintet and piano. Nonetheless you will get a good idea of what it sounds like for a small group.
Wine Women and Song Waltzes, Op.333
For String Quartet or String Quintet
Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899) needs no introduction. The Viennese Waltz King will forever remain famous as long as music is played. Was this music specifically written for string quartet? No. It was originally intended for a Male Chorus (see below) However, almost as soon as he would compose a waltz at the piano, he would start making arrangements. First for his orchestra and then for the other combinations which his publishers demanded. In the beginning, Strauss' ensemble was small--a few players. Perhaps 2 violins, a viola and a cello or bass. Maybe a piano, too. They played in cafes and restaurants and at small parties. Later, when fame came, he created an orchestra. At first 10 to 12 players, then 16-20 and on special occasions perhaps 25 to 30. But one combination he certainly never envisioned was the modern day 100 member symphony orchestra--probably the least valid arrangement of all. No, the music of Strauss Junior and Senior, of Joseph Lanner and the other Viennese waltz masters, first and foremost, was intimate chamber music. This is the time-honored way in which most Viennese then and now have listened to their beloved waltzes. It is in this spirit that our arrangement for String Quartet or String Quintet is presented. Our arrangement for string quintet can be played by 2 violins, viola, cello and bass or 2 cellos.
Known as Wein, Weib und Gesang in the German, the Wine, Women and Song Waltzes were composed in 1869 originally for Vienna Mens Choir to the text of the Viennese society poet Josef Weyl. It is interesting that some of his most famous works, including the Blue Danube, were composed for this organization and not as a purely instrumental work. These waltzes became incredibly famous, and even Johannes Brahms quotes them in his First String Quartet. They have been arranged for virtually every combination imaginable.