Johann Strauss II was the absolute paragon in the art of composing “dance music” in the nineteenth century–his orchestra was very sought after both in Europe and, eventually, in the United States — so no wonder his compositions perfectly lend themselves to rhythmic, percussion-based renditions.
Let’s take, for example, the extremely fast-paced Tritsch-Tratsch polka.
With a jaunty, high-spirited mood, the Tritsch Tratsch polka was written by Johann Strauss II in 1858, after he spent the summer concert season in Russia.
As for the curious title, there are different explanations and interpretations: Tritsch-Tratsch may convey the idea of Gossip, which the Viennese were very fond of; alternatively, it may be a reference to Johann Nestroy’s Der Tritsch-Tratsch, a single-act burlesque that premiered in 1833 that was still quite popular in the 1850s.
What’s more, the same year that polka was composed, a new magazine called Tritsch-Tratsch premiered in Vienna, and was hailed as a humorous, satyrical weekly publication: could it be that, by naming his polka after that magazine, Strauss jr wanted to underline that his dance was meant to be high-spirited?
The Tritsch-Tratsch polka has a more vigorous rhythm than Strauss’s Explosions-polka, whose title was actually inspired by the discovery of guncotton by scientist Christian Friedrich Schönbein—actually, the piece also incorporates several explosion-like effects.