Thunder and Lightning Polka (arr. Daehn)

From Wind Repertory Project
Johann Strauss Jr.

Johann Strauss Jr. (arr. Larry Daehn)

Subtitle: Unter Donner und Blitz: Polka Schnell

General Info

Year: 1868 / 2014
Duration: c. 3:10
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: C.L. Barnhouse
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $76.00   |   Score Only (print) - $8.00


  • Full Score
  • C Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Oboe I-II
  • Bassoon I-II
  • E-flat Soprano Clarinet
  • B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
  • B-flat Bass Clarinet
  • E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
  • B-flat Tenor Saxophone
  • E-flat Baritone Saxophone
  • B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
  • Horn in F I-II-III-IV
  • Trombone I-II-III
  • Euphonium
  • Tuba
  • Timpani
  • Percussion, including:
*Bass Drum
*Crash Cymbals
*Snare Drum


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

"Esteemed Sirs! I have the honour of placing before the honoured Committee the title of Sternschnuppe for a composition, specifically a 'schnellpolka', intended for the Hesperus Ball. Yours respectfully, Johann Strauss".

Thus runs the text of an undated letter to the Vienna Artists' Association, 'Hesperus', written on behalf of the composer by his wife, Jetty, but signed by Strauss himself. Research suggests that this correspondence dates from 18 January 1868. On 6 February that year the Neues Wiener Tagblatt announced: "For the Hesperus Ball, which takes place on Sunday 16th of this month in the Dianasaal, Messrs Johann, Josef and Eduard Strauss have promised 3 novelties with the titles: Sternschnuppe, Extempore and Freie Gedanken". This is the very last mention of Johann's Schnell-Polka Sternschnuppe (Shooting Star).

- Program Note from Eugene Ormandy recording in YouTube

Apparently, although not authoritatively documented, the Sternschnuppe was eventually retitled Unter Donner und Blitz or Thunder and Lightning.

One of the most popular, and the noisiest, of all of Strauss’ dance pieces, Unter Donner und Blitz evokes the sound of thunder and lightning through incessant timpani rolls, cymbal clashes and bass drum thunder claps.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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