top of page
Marble Surface

Johann Strauss I

Ball Racketen, Walzer, Op. 96

00:00 / 06:49

My transcription of the autograph from the Wien Bibliothek im Rathaus.

The piece has been recorded but it’s a bit pedestrian and there are differences from the autograph. I also have the first edition piano score … which is different from both.

The waltz sections are entitled –

1 – Stelldichein (On the piano score – Something different I can’t read on the autograph)
2 – Ländliche Freuden
3 – Liebes-Sternchen
4 – Sprühende Tanzlust
5 – Vergiss mein nicht !

On the autograph the coda is headed Bombardement. Not on the piano score.

I’m obviously missing something here as, although I understand the literal translation of all of the words, I don’t understand the title in relation to the waltz headings.

That was the least of my worries as the autograph is a mess. It was obviously written very quickly. There are lots of crossings out and notes squeezed in. There are wrong notes, wrong key signatures and wrong transpositions, he forgets which clarinet he’s using from one page to the next and in places you have to work out what pitch the horns and clarinets are playing in because he doesn’t say. On some pages the trumpets and horns have individual parts and on others they are grouped in pairs. The string parts are scored for three violins and bass in the old style, if you believe the text. Actually the third violin is obviously a viola. No sign of a cello part. Sometimes the clarinet transposition changes make no sense; the player has to change to another instrument to play something that is playable just as easily on the one he had in his hand. One of the clarinet players would have to have four clarinets in front of them. I suspect this piece was hurriedly assembled from pre-existing parts.

Even when I’d nailed down a clean version (I think … far from sure) it would be unplayable by anything other than a computer. The flute, clarinets and horns change pitch frequently, sometimes between one note and the next which is obviously impossible with a two handed instrument.

At the end of all that, it’s a good waltz.

bottom of page