Johann Strauss II
Fest Marsch, op. 49
Arr. CPE Strauss
My orchestration of the piano score of this march by Johann Strauss II. It was first performed in August 1847. It’s the first of two Fest marches, composed about 40 years apart.
The choice of instruments presented a problem. Normally I’d try and find out the size of the orchestra in use at the time and go with that but this piece was first performed in a joint concert by the Strauss orchestra and a military band and the march was played by a combination of the two. The balance must have been atrocious. The band would overwhelm the Strauss orchestra which was still small at the time.
I’ve picked a fairly small orchestra and beefed up the percussion a bit. Presumably Strauss would have played the piece later with just his own orchestra.
That brings me to a hole in my knowledge. Did people dance to marches at this period? Apart from a reference to “doing the military two step as in the days of yore” I have not managed to pick up any information on this over the years. I do know the Austrian army marched to polkas and have always assumed that marches were danced to as most of the Austrian ones feel like dances, but I don’t actually know.