The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Sr.
Reise Galopp, Op.85 for String Quartet
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, Indianer Reise and Gitana Galopps, and the Bajaderen Waltzes have remained as popular as Junior’s compositions.
In 1836, Johann Strauss took his by them famous orchestra on a tour throughout Germany. Railroads were just in their infancy and Strauss and his band had to travel by stagecoach. Even with the latest sprung suspension, it was still an arduous and often bumpy journey. Strauss recalled his tour by writing his Reise Galopp, or Traveling Gallop. Onc can clearly not only get a sense of motion but also of the kind of bumpy ride Strauss had to endure as he went from city to city before the days of paved roads.
Was this music specifically written for string quartet? The Reise 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 again in a version for string quartet