Camp of the Gypsies is one of the better-known piano pieces by Franz Behr (1837–1898), a prolific but now almost forgotten German composer. Although his opus number reached 582—evidence of both how productive and popular he was—only a handful of his salon pieces and other compositions remain in the standard repertoire at all.
Besides Camp of the Gypsies, his works include such titles as Will o’ the Wisp, Valse des Elfes (Waltz of the Elves), and Evening Chimes in the Mountains. Under the pseudonym Gottlob Bachmann, he also composed additional works such as Marche Bulgare (Bulgarian Market), Gavotte duchesse, and Floréal mazurka. Only one other piece of his seems to have remained in the standard repertoire—Lachtäubchen, Scherzpolka in F-major (often known by the French La rieuse, polka badine), Opus 303. Even that piece has been changed from the original, made into a virtuoso piano piece by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Polka de W. R., which includes his father’s initials!).
Camp of the Gypsies may be a relatively obscure piece by a relatively obscure German composer, but may surprise you once you play it. Its lively rhythm, full harmonies and catchy melody very much bring to mind the image of Gypsies, camped in the countryside, dancing long into the night. You can almost hear the beat of a tambourine in the percussive nature of the accompaniment, even as your right hand dances through a modal melody. When you play Camp of the Gypsies, then, don’t be afraid to let your hands dance and your imagination infuse your playing with a little Gypsy “fire” of its own!
Print and Download Complete Camp of The Gypsies Piano Sheet Music