Δευτέρα, 4 Μαΐου 2015

Hellenen-Polka: The Polka of the Hellenes, Johann Strauss Op.203


Για ελληνικά: Η Πόλκα των Ελλήνων

A fast polka by Johann Strauß II. Hellenen-Polka is the original title of this composition that can be found in number 203 on the list of the Austrian composer’s works. 
Every year during the Austrian Mardi Gras celebrations, Johann Strauß II (1825-1899) would rush all over Vienna from one celebration he had been invited to the other. There were nights in fact that he had to attend five or six dances directing an equal number of orchestras. Inevitably, his presence in each of them only lasted for a few minutes to the disappointment of his many fans. 

The night of the 8th of February 1858, however was different. It belonged to the political and financial magnate Baron Simon Sinas, an aristocrat of Greek Vlach origin from Moschopolis and Ambassador of Greece in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Despite having lived their entire lives in the Diaspora, the Baron and his wife Ifigenia Gika didn’t hesitate to donate a large portion of their fortune to Greece, founding the Academy of Athens, the Greek Metropolitan Cathedral, the Eye-Hospital of Athens and re-establishing the Greek School of Moschopolis that had been destroyed during the wars. 

He even subsidized pre-existing institutions founded by his late father, like the Observatory of Athens - the first in the Balkans. 
One is surprised to learn that astronomers even had a lunar impact crater in the eastern part of the moon named in honor of the Baron: the Sinas Crater !

Strauss not only attended to the very end the Dance of the Greek Community of Vienna organized by this particular man, but he also composed the Hellenes Polka to commemorate the event.


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