The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Sr.
Cachucha Galopp, Op.97 for String Quartet or Piano Trio
Johann (1804-1849) Johann Strauss Sr. (1804-1849) founder of the waltz dynasty that not only included the “Waltz King”, his oldest son Johann Jr., but also two younger sons, Joseph and Edward, was, along with Josef Lanner the most popular composer of Viennese dances from the Biedermeier period: 1815—1848. At least in Vienna, if not elsewhere, many of his works, such as the Radetzky March, the Kettenbrucken Waltzes, the Sperl Polka, the Champagne, Chinese, Jugendfeuer, Cachucha and Gitana Galopps, and the Bajaderen Waltzes have remained as popular as Junior’s compositions.
In one short movement, the Cachucha Galopp dates from 1837. It was owes its composition to the popularity of a Spanish dance by that name which swept over Europe during the first part of the 19th century. When it was first danced on the stage in Vienna by the famous dancer Fanny Elssler it created an immediate sensation and led to what the Viennese called "Cachucha Fever." Vienna went mad over the Cachucha and Johann Strauss decided to cash in on this mania by writing his own Cachucha dance, galopp. Unlike the waltz and the polka, the galopp, the fastest of Viennese dances, only flourished for a short time and did not survive the Biedermeier period, roughly 1815-48. It was considered almost dangerous to dance a galopp and articles in Viennese papers warned that dancing too many galopps could be injurious to one's health. Nonetheless, these high-spirited dances captured the hearts of the young people taking to the dance floors at the famous dance halls of Vienna. The Cachucha Galopp was first performed at the Goldner Birn (Golden Pear) dance hall in Vienna and became immensely popular.
Was this music specifically written for piano? The Cachucha Galopp was written for a small chamber orchestra of around 10-15 players. However, at the same time, Strauss Sr. authorized arrangements for smaller ensembles. He was a violinist and had begun his career with a small ensemble--a string quartet, in fact. They played in cafes and restaurants and at small parties. Later, when fame came, he created an orchestra. At first 10 players, then 16 to 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. This type of music, first and foremost, was meant to be intimate chamber music. This is the time-honored way in which most Viennese then and now have listened to their beloved waltzes. Thus it is with pleasure that we make it available in a version for string quartet or piano trio