Johann Strauss II


Op. 326 • “Free-shooting bullets”

About this work

Johann Strauss II certainly demonstrated a sense of humor in his music, particularly with the sonic mischief in works like the Explosions-Polka (1847), which contains several fireworks-like explosions. This work, "Free-shooting Bullets," also exemplifies this type of musical humor. While it refrains from the actual gunfire sonics the title promises, the piece calls on the tympani and bass drum to punctuate the festive music here with many thunderous blows. The work is pure fun, full of tomfoolery and color, and quite light -- even for light music. "Free-shooting Bullets" opens with a tympani stroke, which serves to free the other instruments from the starting gate at quite a lively pace. The main theme is busy in its sense of playful mayhem and colorful festivity. A second subject continues the fun, prodded by driving rhythms and the same mischievous character. The middle section also maintains much the same mood, but drives on with an almost manic sense toward the end. As it moves toward its conclusion, the music maintains a manic intensity. This polka typically has a duration of three minutes.