The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Sr.
Eisenbahn-Lust Waltzes for 2 Violins & Cello
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, Indianer and Gitana Galopps, and the Eisenbahn-Lust Waltzes have remained as popular as Junior’s compositions.
The Eisenbahn-Lust Waltzes date from 1836. It was about this time that railroads were just beginning to be built from Vienna to neighboring towns. Taking day trips on the train to nearby villages for picnics and other enjoyable outings became the fashionable way to spend weekends among Vienna's burgeoning middle classes. It literally became a craze. Eisenbahn-Lust can be translated as train ride fun. In the introduction, one can hear the steam engine starting to roll, with a little bit of herky-jerky rhythm at the end to represent the engine starting to pull the passenger carriages before the lovely waltzes begin.
Was this music specifically written for string trio? The short answer, of course, is no, it 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 trio