The Viennese Dance Series for Chamber Ensembles
Carl Michael Ziehrer
Penzing Polka for String Quartet
Like Johann Strauss, Sr. and Jr., Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843-1922) was born in Vienna. After studying with the famous Viennese composition and theory teacher Simon Sechter he then embarked upon a career which bore many similarities to that of Johann Strauss, Jr. Ultimately, he was to become Strauss Jrís greatest rival. He enjoyed a long career as the leader of several orchestras and was a military bandmaster as well. His wonderful waltzes combined local folk-music with strains of military marches. The Viennese press likened his style to an earlier Strauss rival, that of Josef Lanner. His popularity as a bandmaster and composer was such that at the peak of his fame, he represented Austria at the Chicago World Fair, where his band alternated with that of John Phillip Sousa nightly. He composed over 600 hundred waltzes, galopps and dances along with and a number of operettas which enjoyed tremendous popularity both in Europe and America, and was considered the leading operetta composer between Strauss Jr. and Franz Lehar. Though he never was able to overtake Johann Jr. to become the waltz king, several of his compositions in their time were more popular than all but a few of Straussí best know works.
The Penzing Polka dates from the early 1860ís and is named after the 14th district of Vienna which consists of many parks and picnic areas, included the famous Wienerwald (Vienna Woods).