About this work
Many people only partially familiar with the works of Johann Strauss II think of the composer as the creator of mostly short waltzes and polkas and a few operettas. But Strauss wrote 17 operettas, numerous waltzes, and other dance works, often of substantial length. Bei uns z'Haus is one such creation, a work lasting nine or ten minutes, and exhibiting structural and instrumental sophistication that evidences his mastery of light music and dance forms. Indeed, this waltz exhibits the inimitable festive exuberance and lightness of expression that mark his style. The work opens with a lengthy, slow introduction that mixes the somber and the sentimental. Gradually, the music turns lighter and more playful, and then Strauss presents a colorful, jaunty waltz theme whose understated orchestration suggests more restraint than is often heard in the composer's typically celebratory music. The second subject is carefree and nonchalant, quite attractive, even if it sounds like recycled Strauss. Other thematic material follows, including music from the introduction, and offers deft contrast and much color. Brilliantly orchestrated, the work's conclusion is a sparkling experience. The optional chorus adds a measure of color, but is hardly necessary.