Vienna Philharmonic Fanfare (arr. Linklater)

From Wind Repertory Project
Richard Strauss

Richard Strauss (trans. Fraser Linklater)

General Info

Year: 1924 /
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: V+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Brass and tympani
Publisher: Manitoba Band Association
Cost: Score and Parts (digital) – Free.


Full Score
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III-IV
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III-IV
Euphonium I-II
Tuba I-II


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Composer Richard Strauss enjoyed a long-standing relationship with die Wiener Philharmoniker, or the Vienna Philharmonic. Between 1906 and 1944, Strauss conducted 85 concerts and opera performances with the Vienna Philharmonic, often conducting and premiering his own works. This close relationship was treasured by Strauss. In a birthday letter celebrating the orchestra’s 100th anniversary, he wrote:

Praising the philharmonic is like carrying violins to Vienna. But I cherish the brass instruments’ piano, the sheen of the harps and the implacable timpani no less ... I would like to pay tribute today with two thoughts: ‘Only one who has conducted the Vienna Philharmonic can appreciate it fully, but that remains our secret!’ You understand what I mean -- here, as on the concert stage!

While the harp is absent, Strauss does feature the brass and timpani he admired so much in his Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare. As with most fanfares, Strauss wrote this one for a special event: the inaugural Vienna Philharmonic Ball. This gala, created out of a necessity to fundraise for the musicians’ pension funds, was held during the holiday Germans call Fasching, and many others know as either Carnival or Mardi Gras. Similarly to the fanfares used to mark the entrances of dignitaries, olympians -- and even common men, Strauss’s fanfare is still played every year at the gala, signaling the entrance of the Matron of the Ball.

- Program Note from University of Texas Wind Ensemble concert program, 26 September 2021

Wiener Philharmoniker Fanfare (1924) was written for the organization's first benefit ball, which raised money for the musician's pension fund. Held on March 4 of that year, the ball took place during the holiday called Fasching in German-speaking countries and known as Carnival or Mardi Gras in others. The piece was played while honored guests, such as the Matron of the Ball, arrived at the event. The work has been played every year since at the Philharmonic's annual benefits.

Being the son of the principal horn player for the Munich Court Orchestra may have had something to do with the composer's ability to write for brass, but whatever his influences, this brief fanfare certainly demonstrates his affinity for striking brass textures. The piece is scored for a large brass ensemble and two sets of timpani. It opens simply, with a single note on the trumpets repeated in the characteristic fanfare rhythm. This expands to a triad, and then the other sections enter one at a time: trombones, horns, timpani, each adding rhythmic and textural complexity. The main theme arrives, marked by the entrance of the tuba. A brief development leads to an even briefer second subject, played more softly and without the triplet motor propelling it. After just a few measures the main theme returns, soon reaching a climax featuring a riff in the horns climbing three octaves. Short but stirring, one can easily understand why any Matron of the Ball would ensure that this piece has remained in the Philharmonic's active repertory for 94 years.

- Program Note adapted from a note by Barbara Heninger


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Youngstown (Ohio) State University Wind Ensemble (Michael Scott Butler, conductor) - 1 November 2021

Works for Winds by This Composer