J. Strauss, Jr.: On the Hunt Quick-Polka, Opus 373

JOHANN STRAUSS, JR.

BORN: October 25, 1825. Vienna, Austria

DIED: June 3, 1899. Vienna

COMPOSED: 1875

WORLD PREMIERE: Autumn 1875—possibly at the Vienna Volksgarten on October 5—probably with Eduard Strauss leading the Strauss Orchestra

SFS PERFORMANCES: FIRST—December 1965, as part of a Night in Old Vienna concert led by Josef Krips. MOST RECENT—December 1997. Klaus Donath conducted in a New Year’s Eve concert

INSTRUMENTATION: 2 flutes and piccolo, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, timpani, snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, and strings

DURATION: About 2 mins

On the Hunt (Auf der Jagd) returns us, to some degree, Johann, Jr.’s stage output, as its music is drawn from his three-act operetta Cagliostro in Wien (Cagliostro in Vienna). The operetta is based on a true story, the exploits of Count Alessandro Cagliostro, an occultist, alchemist, and all-around charlatan who rose from impoverished Sicilian origins to entrance the highest social circles of eighteenth-century Europe. He was immortalized in numerous works of literature and the stage, by such figures as Goethe, Schiller, Dumas père, George Sand, and Tolstoy. The stage-work makes no reference to hunting, but it furnished musical themes that Strauss drew from three disparate spots in the operetta and recycled into this quick polka, adding brass fanfares and a gunshot for the sake of realism.—James M. Keller