Bitte schön!

Johann Strauss II

Bitte schön!

Op. 372 • “If you please!”

About this work

Of the 17 operettas that Johann Strauss II wrote, Cagliostro in Wien contains some of his most popular music. The overture is particularly well known, as are several of the dance numbers, including this polka, Bitte schön! Yet the operetta itself is not widely performed and cannot approach the popularity of the Strauss classic Die Fledermaus (1874). In a sense, its sum is outdone by its quite attractive parts. Bitte schön! is a delightfully playful piece which will certainly appeal to partisans of Viennese light music. It vigorously opens with a fragment of the main polka theme stomping out its music, but the ensuing full statement of this charming melody is lighter in its instrumentation, playful, and gentle in its swagger. Secondary thematic material maintains the light and carefree atmosphere in its generally more robust manner, but it is the infectious gracefulness and charm of the main theme that sets this polka apart. A brief but brilliant coda closes out this approximately four-minute piece.