Johann Strauss II


Op. 214

About this work

Strauss composed the Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op. 214 (1858) at a time when he regularly visited Russia, where he was exposed to compositional ideas that found their way into the popular Viennese forms of which he was the undisputed master. In this polka, Strauss retains the customary ternary form but tends to accent each beat equally. The A section itself consists of three parts, in turn configured in a miniature ternary scheme. Section B, containing only two melodies, is likewise rounded by a return of its first tune. Following B, the A section returns in its entirety, and the work closes with a brief coda.

With one exception, each of the polka's eight-measure melodies is repeated to create discrete 16-measure units. As in his waltzes, Strauss was not content to follow convention completely. For instance, although the third section of A consists of sixteen measures, this is not the result of an eight-measure idea merely repeated. Instead, it comprises two distinct eight-measure melodies, the first a constant eighth note pattern in the flute, the second a halting brass figure that accents the second beat of each measure. The flute and piccolo play a much larger role in this polka than they do in Strauss' waltzes, assuming a near-ubiquitous melodic role supported by pizzicato lower strings and woodwinds in contrary motion.