About this work
Auf der Jagd (Off to the Hunt) is one of those Johann Strauss Jr. pieces that, once extracted from an operetta, has gained a life of its own. The schnellpolka comes from the 1875 operetta Cagliostro in Wien, a work which yielded five other dances as well as this one. The operetta revolves around the swindles of Cagliostro, who preys upon the Viennese people who are celebrating the anniversary of the expulsion of the Turks from the city.
The Auf der Jagd polka features two sections. Be warned: this is not for the faint-hearted. The galloping first section ends with a gunshot, one of those attention-getting sound effects Strauss was fond of using. In the second section you can hear the horns signaling the sighting of the prey. A chase and more gunshots follow. The first section is repeated and polka ends, as so many of Strauss' works do, with rapid descending scales and a dramatic cadence.