The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Johann Strauss Sr.
Salon Polka, Op.161 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, Jugendfeuer, Indianer and Gitana Galopps, and the Bajaderen Waltzes have remained as popular as Junior’s compositions.
The Salon Polka was composed in 1844 for the Summer Festival in the Vienna Volksgarten. Although Strauss did not seem to favor the polka, most of those which he wrote, such as the Sperl Polka and the Annen Polka--both of which we publish--became quite popular.
Was this music specifically written for string quartet? The Salon Polka originally appeared in two versions, one for small chamber orchestra of around 10-15 players and the other for string quartet. But like most of his works, Strauss Sr. immediately authorized arrangements for all different kinds of ensembles.