program notes by composition > P > Perpetuum Mobile

Perpetuum Mobile

Johann Strauss, Jr./arr. by Alfred Reed

Perpetuum Mobile (“ A Musical Joke” ) This speedy polka is an example of the 19th century musical genre known as “perpetual motion” which is characterized by a continuous steady stream of notes at a rapid tempo. A large part of the piece is intended to be repeated without the "motion" of the melody being halted when a repeat begins. Such pieces would often be performed as virtuoso encores, in some cases increasing the tempo along the repeats.

Composer Johann Strauss, Jr. (1825-1899) was born in Vienna, Austria. He was the most famous member of a musical family that included his father Johann, Sr. and his younger brothers Josef and Eduard. Johann Jr. composed waltzes, polkas, marches and operettas. His father opposed his entry into music, wishing to spare him the privations of the business, but Johann Jr. succeeded on a grand scale, leading popular orchestras and becoming known as "the waltz king."

Last updated on April 4, 2012 by Palatine Concert Band