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Marble Surface

Philippe Musard

Quadrille No. 1 on themes from Stradella

Arr. CPE Strauss

00:00 / 05:43

This is my orchestration of the first of two quadrilles by Philippe Musard on themes from Louis Niedermeyer’s opera Stradella. It’s a curiosity. The opera was first performed in Paris in March 1837. I assume the quadrille was written at about the same time to cash in on the publicity value of the opera.

Musard was very popular in Paris at the time, and was renowned for his quadrilles, and his showmanship with his orchestra.

Johann Strauss I and his orchestra arrived in Paris on tour in October 1837. Strauss shared concerts with Musard and played violin in his orchestra to learn the art of the quadrille. It must be a fair bet that he played this one.

If this quadrille is anything to go by, he didn’t have much to learn. To be fair, it’s not Musard’s fault that most of the tunes are a bit ordinary. That was not my first choice of words. Still, it could be worse. The opera has five acts and I didn’t have to listen to that. According to Wikipedia, Berlioz wrote (of the opera) "In a few days' time I have to find a way of writing indulgent nonsense about an appalling non-work called Stradella of which I saw a rehearsal yesterday evening at the Opéra. A thousand reasons force me to, quite apart from the fact that it would not be decent, in my position, to slate a young composer [Niedermeyer] who has for a long time been in the same situation vis-à-vis the theatre as I am. But I must warn you not to believe a word I say.". The quadrille does end with a bit of energy though.

Musard’s orchestra was renowned for its special effects – breaking chairs and the like. I have used the orchestral forces I use for Lanner at the same period - quite a large band but no oddities.

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