Wo die Zitronen blühen

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This article is about the waltz. For the Goethe poem (Mignon's song from Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship ("Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen blühn?")) see Goethe#Literary_work for background information, or [1] for the text.

Wo die Zitronen blühen (Where the Lemons Blossom or, Where the Citrons Bloom), op. 364 is a waltz by Johann Strauss II written in 1874. The waltz was composed during a tour of the composer in Italy where he travelled with the Langenbach Orchestra of Germany and performed the work at the Teatro Regio in Turin on 9 May 1874.

The waltz came after a successful premiere of his famous operetta Die Fledermaus and Strauss originally entitled the waltz as 'Bella Italia' (Beautiful Italy) for his Italian audiences before renaming it 'Wo die Zitronen blühen' after a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre — 'Kennst du das Land wo die Zitronen blühen?' ('Do you know the land where the lemons blossom?').

Strauss waltz (as is most of his waltzes dating around this time) follows the structure of an Introduction followed by three two-part waltz sections and a coda instead of his earlier five two-part sections. This structure was to feature in most of his later waltzes although he did not set it as a definite and permanent structure.

The work began in a tranquil fashion in G major, with a reflective solo violin melody pervading most of the Introduction. A series of loud chords brought in the gentle first waltz section. The second section is more animated with a beautiful 2nd part in D major. The wistful nature of the waltz is further expanded in the equally docile 3rd section. A furious coda recalls earlier melodies and the first waltz section gracefully makes another entry. Nearing the end of the peaceful work, the Introduction's solo violin melody serenades the final few bars before the waltz rises to a forte and ends on a brilliant note, underlined with a timpani drumroll.


Based on original text by Peter Kemp, The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain. Used with permission.