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Overture - The Gypsy Baron

Composer

J. Strauss

Year of composition

1885

Arranger

Tony Wakefield

Year of arrangement

2000

Lyricist

none

Publisher

AW Music

Difficulty

Difficult (Grades 7+)

Duration

6 minutes

Genre

Classical music

Instrumentation

Wind quintet

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Arguably as tuneful as Strauss` other operetta Die Fledermaus, this arrangement gives all instruments a "work out" full of jollity, even going as far as to encourage bassoonists to take up the triangle. Flute requires piccolo.

Johann Strauss Jnr composed over 170 waltzes. In the beginning, Johann`s father discouraged all his children from becoming musicians, and as we have observed, his plan didn`t work. It was in the latter part of Johann`s career when he composed 17 operettas; Die Fledermaus, (1874), and Der Zigeunerbaron, (1885) being the most successful. Johann was taken ill whilst working on Zigeunerbaron, suffering from, at 58 years, nicotine poisoning and fainting fits. Work was again interrupted when his third wife, Adele, was taken ill. They left for Ostend for Adele to recover. The Gypsy Baron was the first Viennese operetta set in Hungary, and whose main characters were Hungarians and Gypsies. Although this may have seemed like a bold political gesture at a time when many Viennese felt the influx of Hungarians into Vienna threatened the city`s political and financial stability, the context in which Strauss and librettist Schnitzer frame their Hungarian characters, preserves the Austrian sense of superiority!

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