About this work
Without a doubt, Johann Strauss II's most popular large work is his 1874 operetta Die Fledermaus (The Bat). This Tik-Tak Polka is taken from that masterful effort and is one of its most widely performed numbers. Strauss called it a polka schnell, or fast polka, and thus its music is generally paced swiftly and should not be played at too casual a tempo -- as some conductors have tended to do -- lest its merriment and lively character lose some of their effervescence and joy. In any event, this colorful dance opens with a chipper theme whose belled sonorities impart a glitter and a sense of festivity. The music also conveys a bouncy, rollicking manner, as rhythms are perky and driven throughout, percussion spicy, reeds chirping, and the instrumentation in general exuding sunshine and celebration. The middle section has a somewhat more carefree manner, but in its marginally less fulsome character hardly breaks the festive mood. The whole, from beginning to end, is playful and utterly good-natured in its spirited sense of mischief and fun. The piece typically has a duration of two and a half minutes.