Johann Strauss II  
Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II (October 25, 1825 – June 3, 1899), also known as Johann Strauss, Jr., the Younger, the Son (German: Sohn), Johann Baptist Strauss, was an Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and operettas. He composed over 400 waltzes, polkas, quadrilles, and other types of dance music, as well as several operettas and a ballet. In his lifetime, he was known as "The Waltz King", and was largely then responsible for the popularity of the waltz in Vienna during the 19th century.

Strauss had two younger brothers, Josef and Eduard Strauss, who became composers of light music as well, although they were never as well known as their elder brother.

Some of Johann Strauss's most famous works include "The Blue Danube", "Kaiser-Walzer", "Tales from the Vienna Woods", and the "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka". Among his operettas, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron are the best known.

His father, Johann Strauss I, in an etching from 1835

Early life
Strauss was born in St Ulrich near Vienna (now a part of Neubau), Austria, on October 25, 1825, to the composer Johann Strauss I. His paternal great-grandfather was a Hungarian Jew – a fact which the Nazis, who lionised Strauss's music as "so German", later tried to conceal. His father did not want him to become a musician but rather a banker. Nevertheless, Strauss Junior studied the violin secretly as a child with the first violinist of his father's orchestra, Franz Amon. When his father discovered his son secretly practising on a violin one day, he gave him a severe whipping, saying that he was going to beat the music out of the boy. It seems that rather than trying to avoid a Strauss rivalry, the elder Strauss only wanted his son to escape the rigours of a musician's life. It was only when the father abandoned his family for a mistress, that the son was able to concentrate fully on a career as a composer with the support of his mother.

Strauss studied counterpoint and harmony with theorist Professor Joachim Hoffmann, who owned a private music school. His talents were also recognized by composer Joseph Drechsler, who taught him exercises in harmony. It was during that time that he composed his only sacred work, the graduale Tu qui regis totum orbem (1844). His other violin teacher, Anton Kollmann, who was the ballet répétiteur of the Vienna Court Opera, also wrote excellent testimonials for him. Armed with these, he approached the Viennese authorities to apply for a license to perform. He initially formed his small orchestra where he recruited his members at the Zur Stadt Belgrad tavern, where musicians seeking work could be hired easily.

Johann Strauss in his younger years

Debut as a composer
Johann Strauss I's influence over the local entertainment establishments meant that many of them were wary of offering the younger Strauss a contract for fear of angering the father. Strauss Jr. was able to persuade the Dommayer's Casino in Hietzing, a suburb of Vienna, to allow him to perform. The elder Strauss, in anger at his son's disobedience, and at that of the proprietor, refused to ever play at the Dommayer's Casino again, which had been the site of many of his earlier triumphs.

Strauss made his debut at Dommayer's in October 1844, where he performed some of his first works, such as the waltzes "Sinngedichte", Op. 1 and "Gunstwerber", Op. 4 and the polka "Herzenslust", Op. 3. Critics and the press were unanimous in their praise for Strauss's music. A critic for Der Wanderer commented that "Strauss’s name will be worthily continued in his son; children and children’s children can look forward to the future, and three-quarter time will find a strong footing in him."

Strauss at the beginning of his career

Despite the initial fanfare, Strauss found his early years as a composer difficult, but he soon won over audiences after accepting commissions to perform away from home. The first major appointment for the young composer was his award of the honorary position of "Kapellmeister of the 2nd Vienna Citizen's Regiment", which had been left vacant following Joseph Lanner's death two years before.[

Vienna was wracked by the revolutions of 1848 in the Austrian Empire and the intense rivalry between father and son became much more apparent. Johann Jr. decided to side with the revolutionaries. It was a decision that was professionally disadvantageous, as the Austrian royalty twice denied him the much coveted 'KK Hofballmusikdirektor' position, which was first designated especially for Johann I in recognition of his musical contributions. Further, the younger Strauss was also arrested by the Viennese authorities for publicly playing "La Marseillaise", but was later acquitted. The elder Strauss remained loyal to the monarchy, and composed his "Radetzky March", Op. 228 (dedicated to the Habsburg field marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz), which would become one of his best-known compositions.

When the elder Strauss died from scarlet fever in Vienna in 1849, the younger Strauss merged both their orchestras and engaged in further tours. Later, he also composed a number of patriotic marches dedicated to the Habsburg Emperor Franz Josef I, such as the "Kaiser Franz-Josef Marsch" Op. 67 and the "Kaiser Franz Josef Rettungs Jubel-Marsch" Op. 126, probably to ingratiate himself in the eyes of the new monarch, who ascended to the Austrian throne after the 1848 revolution.

Career advancements
Strauss Jr. eventually surpassed his father's fame, and became one of the most popular waltz composers of the era, extensively touring Austria-Hungary, Poland, and Germany with his orchestra. He applied for the KK Hofballmusikdirektor Music Director of the Royal Court Balls position, which he eventually attained in 1863, after being denied several times before for his frequent brushes with the local authorities.

In 1853, due to constant mental and physical demands, Strauss suffered a nervous breakdown. He took a seven-week vacation in the countryside in the summer of that year, on the advice of doctors. Johann's younger brother Josef was persuaded by his family to abandon his career as an engineer and take command of Johann's orchestra in the interim.

In 1855, Strauss accepted commissions from the management of the Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company of Saint Petersburg to play in Russia for the Vauxhall Pavilion at Pavlovsk in 1856. He would return to perform in Russia every year until 1865.

Later, in the 1870s, Strauss and his orchestra toured the United States, where he took part in the Boston Festival at the invitation of bandmaster Patrick Gilmore and was the lead conductor in a "Monster Concert" of over 1000 performers (see World's Peace Jubilee and International Musical Festival), performing his "Blue Danube" waltz, amongst other pieces, to great acclaim.

Strauss married the singer Henrietta Treffz in 1862, and they remained together until her death in 1878. Six weeks after her death, Strauss married the actress Angelika Dittrich. Dittrich was not a fervent supporter of his music, and their differences in status and opinion, and especially her indiscretion, led him to seek a divorce.

Strauss was not granted a divorce by the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore changed religion and nationality, and became a citizen of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in January 1887. Strauss sought solace in his third wife Adele Deutsch, whom he married in August 1887. She encouraged his creative talent to flow once more in his later years, resulting in many famous compositions, such as the operettas Der Zigeunerbaron and Waldmeister, and the waltzes "Kaiser-Walzer" Op. 437, "Kaiser Jubiläum" Op. 434, and "Klug Gretelein" Op. 462.

Musical rivals and admirers
Although Strauss was the most sought-after composer of dance music in the latter half of the 19th century, stiff competition was present in the form of Karl Michael Ziehrer and Émile Waldteufel; the latter held a commanding position in Paris. Phillip Fahrbach also denied the younger Strauss the commanding position of the KK Hofballmusikdirektor when the latter first applied for the post. The German operetta composer Jacques Offenbach, who made his name in Paris, also posed a challenge to Strauss in the operetta field.

Strauss was admired by other prominent composers: Richard Wagner once admitted that he liked the waltz "Wein, Weib und Gesang" Op. 333. Richard Strauss (unrelated to the Strauss family), when writing his Rosenkavalier waltzes, said in reference to Johann Strauss, "How could I forget the laughing genius of Vienna?"

Johannes Brahms was a personal friend of Strauss; the latter dedicated his waltz "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" ("Be Embraced, You Millions!"), Op. 443, to him. A story is told in biographies of both men that Strauss's wife Adele approached Brahms with a customary request that he autograph her fan. It was usual for the composer to inscribe a few measures of his best-known music, and then sign his name. Brahms, however, inscribed a few measures from the "Blue Danube", and then wrote beneath it: "Unfortunately, NOT by Johannes Brahms."

Stage works
The most famous of Strauss' operettas are Die Fledermaus, Eine Nacht in Venedig, and Der Zigeunerbaron. There are many dance pieces drawn from themes of his operettas, such as "Cagliostro-Walzer" Op. 370 (from Cagliostro in Wien), "O Schöner Mai" Walzer Op. 375 (from Prinz Methusalem), "Rosen aus dem Süden" Walzer Op. 388 (from Das Spitzentuch der Königin), and "Kuss-Walzer" op. 400 (from Der lustige Krieg), that have survived obscurity and become well-known. Strauss also wrote an opera, Ritter Pázmán, and was in the middle of composing a ballet, Aschenbrödel, when he died in 1899.

Statue of the Waltz King in Stadtpark, Vienna


Death and legacy
Strauss was diagnosed with Pleura-pneumonia, and on June 3, 1899 he died in Vienna, at the age of 73. He was buried in the Zentralfriedhof. At the time of his death, he was still composing his ballet Aschenbrödel.

As a result of the efforts by Clemens Krauss who performed a special all-Strauss programme in 1929 with the Vienna Philharmonic, Strauss's music is now regularly performed at the annual Vienna New Year's Concert. Distinguished Strauss interpreters include Willi Boskovsky, who carried on the Vorgeiger tradition of conducting with violin in hand, as was the Strauss family custom, as well as Herbert von Karajan, Carlos Kleiber, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta and Riccardo Muti. In addition, the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester, which was formed in 1966, pays tribute to the touring orchestras which once made the Strauss family so famous. In 1987 Dutch violinist and conductor André Rieu also created a Johann Strauss Orchestra.

Most of the Strauss works that are performed today may once have existed in a slightly different form, as Eduard Strauss destroyed much of the original Strauss orchestral archives in a furnace factory in Vienna's Mariahilf district in 1907. Eduard, then the only surviving brother of the three, took this drastic precaution after agreeing to a pact between himself and brother Josef that whoever outlived the other was to destroy their works. The measure was intended to prevent the Strauss family's works from being claimed by another composer. This may also have been fueled by Strauss's rivalry with another of Vienna's popular waltz and march composers, Karl Michael Ziehrer.

Silhouette by Otto Böhler


Portrayals in the media
The lives of the Strauss dynasty members and their world-renowned craft of composing Viennese waltzes are also briefly documented in several television adaptations, such as The Strauss Family (1972), The Strauss Dynasty (1991) and Strauss, the King of 3/4 Time (1995). Many other films used his works and melodies, and several films have been based upon the life of the musician, the most famous of which is called The Great Waltz (1938).

Alfred Hitchcock made a low-budget biographical film of Strauss in 1933 called Waltzes from Vienna. After a trip to Vienna, Walt Disney was inspired to create four feature films. One of those was The Waltz King, a loosely adapted biopic of Johann Strauss, which aired as part of the Wonderful World of Disney in the U.S. in 1963. In Mikhail Bulgakov's 1940 (published 1967) novel, The Master and Margarita, Johann Strauss conducts the orchestra during Satan's Great Ball at the invitation of Behemoth.

A Corny Concerto (1943), a Warner Bros cartoon, directed by Bob Clampett with animation by Robert McKimson, features music that was composed by Johann Strauss, and is a parody of Walt Disney's 1940 Fantasia. The cartoon is narrated by Elmer Fudd, parodying Deems Taylor's appearance in Fantasia.

The 1950 animated short entitled "Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl" from the series "Tom and Jerry" makes use of Johann Strauss II's Overture of Die Fledermaus.

Another 1953 animated short "Johann Mouse" from the series Tom and Jerry features a mouse mesmerised by the playing of several Strauss waltzes by Johann Strauss himself, and later, by Tom.

The 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey features perhaps his most famous work, "The Blue Danube".

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Johann Strauss the Younger


Johann Strauss the Younger was the most famous and accomplished member of the musical dynasty that began with his father, Johann Strauss the Elder (1804-49), a noted violinist, conductor, and composer. Together with his brothers Josef and Eduard, who both wrote waltzes and polkas, the younger Strauss effectively ruled the dance music world of Vienna, the city of his birth, for most of the nine-teeth century.

He wrote his first waltz at the age of six; but it was not until his father, who had wanted him to go into banking, deserted the family in 1842 that he began his formal musical education. He soon formed his own small orchestra and their debut in 1844 was such a success that he became his father's leading rival overnight. When his father died five years later the two orchestras were merged under his direction.

In the 1850s Strauss introduced some of the compositional techniques of Wagner and Liszt into his waltzes, receiving a rebuke from the fiercely anti-Wagnerian critic Eduard Hanslick. The public was in favour, however, and in the 1860s he became increasingly busy both composing and conducting, particularly during the ball season of Vienna's high society. Most of his finest waltzes elate from this decade — Morning papers (1864), the ever popular Blue Danube (1867), Tales from the Vienna woods (1868), and Wine, women and song (1869) among them.

Strauss's waltzes all fit a basic pattern, consisting of a slow, scene-setting introduction, followed usually by five waltz sections. They finished with a coda (end section) that reintroduced the main waltz tunes in a continuous sequence, creating a sense of quickening musical pace. It was a format that any competent composer could use to good effect; but Strauss's best waltzes were more poised and better orchestrated, his rhythmic combinations more finely balanced, and his melodies simply more graceful than those of anyone else. They captured the mood of nineteenth-century Vienna — its sophistication and its hedonism.

The "Waltz King" was naturally expected to tour — during the 30 years from 1856 Strauss made appearances all over Europe, from England to Russia, hailed as Austria's most successful ambassador. He was invited to Boston, Massachusetts, in 1872 for an "International Peace Jubilee" marking the end of the Franco-Prussian War. It was a huge gala affair, in which he was forced to endure numerous performances of Blue Danube and Wine, women and song, but it brought him worldwide popularity. In 1876 he dedicated his Centennial Waltzes to the American people in honour of the one-hundreth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Comic opera and operetta had become popular in Vienna, particularly the works of the Parisian composer Jacques Offenbach. In the 1870s theatre directors and librettists turned to Strauss for a distinctly Viennese contribution to the genre. He had never had to tit his free-flowing melodies to a text before, and he was no discerning judge of librettos suitable for the task. Of his 18 published stage works only two operettas passed into the repertory, largely due to their excellent librettos. Die Fledermaus (The Bat) from 1 874 does, however, sparkle with all the wit and elegance of his best waltzes, while Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron), dating from 1885, uses gypsy melodies and exotic harmonies to capture the Hungarian flavour of its subject.

In 1885 Strauss converted to the Protestant faith in order to divorce his second wife Angelika (his first, Henrietta, had died) and marry the young widow Adele Strauss (no relation). This cost him his Austrian citizenship. He assumed that of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha for the rest of his life, but Vienna was always his home. When he died there in 1899 a part of the Austrian Empire died with him.


Die Fledermaus
Julie Brown
My Dear Marquis
Nickolas Fortino, Devin Kipp, Amanda Bender, Shuyi Ma, soloists
What a joy to be here
Olga Perez, mezzo-soprano
Chacun a son gout 

Shannon Browne, soprano
Ensemble/Adele's Laughing Song


Kaila Rochelle
Blue Danube

The best of Johann Strauss II
Johann Strauss II (1825 - 1899)

1.Voices of Spring, Op. 410, 0:00
2.Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, Op. 214 6:59
3.Emperor Waltz, Op. 437 9:42
4.Annen Polka, Op. 117 21:45
5.Enjoy Your Life, Waltz, Op. 340 24:46
6.Egyptian March, Op. 335 33:10
7.Vienna Blood Waltz, Op. 354 37:18
8.Thunder & Lightning, Op. 324 46:47
9.Die Fledermaus Waltz, Op. 367 50:06
10.Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257 57:00
11.Bandit's Gallop, Op. 276 1:00:09
12.Blue Danube, Op. 314 1:02:57

Performed By Wiener Philharmoniker, Willi Boskovsky

1. An der schonen blauen Donau, Op. 314 00:00
2. Fruhlingsstimmen, Op. 410 9:16
3. Dynamiden-Walzer, Op. 173 15:22
4. Carnevals-Botschafter, Op. 270 24:06
5. Fresche Geister, Op. 75 31:35
6. Spharenklange, Op. 235 38:46
7. Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald, Op. 325 47:15
8. Du und Du, Op. 367 58:26
9. Lagunen- Walzer, Op. 411 1:05:47
10. Freuet euch des Lebens, Op. 340 1:13:09
11. Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257 1:21:14
12. Wein, Weib und Gesang, Op. 333 1:24:11
13. Tausend und eine Nacht, Op. 346 1:33:57
14. Wo die Citronen bluh'n, Op. 364 1:42:20
15. Seid umschlungen, Millionen!, Op. 443 1:50:45
16. Transactionen, Op. 184 1:59:39
17. Erinnerung an Covent-Garden, Op. 329 2:08:36
18. Wiener Blut, Op. 354 2:15:47
19. Wiener Bonbons, Op. 307 2:23:51
20. Liebeslieder, Op. 114 2:32:27
21. Kunstlerleben, Op. 316 2:39:05
22. Morgenblatter, Op. 279 2:47:28
23. Dorfschwalben aus Osterreich, Op. 164 2:56:55
24. Franz Joseph I. Rettungs-Jubel-Marsch, Op. 126 2:04:57
25. Rosen aus dem Suden, Op. 388 3:08:27
26. Kaiserwalzer, Op. 437 3:16:36
27. Loreley-Rhein-Klange, Op. 154 3:26:50
28. S gibt nur a Kaiserstadt, 's gibt nur a Wien!, Op. 291 3:34:47
29. Schneeglockchen, Op. 143 3:39:13
30. Delirien, Op. 212 3:47:37
31. Mein Lebenslauf ist Lieb und Lust, Op. 263 3:55:51
32. Bei uns z'Haus, Op. 361 4:02:55
33. Nordseebilder, Op. 390 4:11:49
34. Mephistos Hollenrufe, Op. 101 4:19:59

The Blue Danube - 1867
The Blue Danube is the common English title of An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 (German for "By the Beautiful Blue Danube"), a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866. Originally performed in February, 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesangsverein (Vienna Men's Choral Association), it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. Its initial performance was considered only a mild success, however, and Strauss is reputed to have said, "The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!"

After the original music was written, the words were added by the Choral Association's poet, Joseph Weyl. Strauss later added more music, and Weyl needed to change some of the words. Strauss adapted it into a purely orchestral version for the 1867 Paris World's Fair, and it became a great success in this form. The instrumental version is by far the most commonly performed today. An alternate text was written by Franz von Gernerth (de), "Donau so blau" (Danube so blue). "The Blue Danube" premiered in the United States in its instrumental version on 1 July 1867 in New York, and in Great Britain in its choral version on 21 September 1867 in London at the promenade concerts at Covent Garden.

When Strauss's stepdaughter, Alice von Meyszner-Strauss, asked the composer Johannes Brahms to sign her autograph-fan, he wrote down the first bars of The Blue Danube, but adding "Leider nicht von Johannes Brahms" ("Alas! not by Johannes Brahms").

Composition notes

The work commences with an extended introduction in the key of A major with shimmering (tremolo) violins and a horn spelling out the familiar waltz theme, answered by staccato wind chords, in a subdued mood. It rises briefly into a loud passage but quickly dies down into the same restful nature of the opening bars. A contrasting and quick phrase in D major anticipates the waltz before three quiet downward-moving bass notes "usher in" the first principal waltz melody.

The first waltz theme is familiar gently rising triad motif in cellos and horns in the tonic D major, accompanied by the harp; the Viennese waltz beat is accentuated at the end of each 3-note phrase. The Waltz 1A triumphantly ends its rounds of the motif, and waltz 1B follows in the same key; the genial mood is still apparent.

Waltz 2A glides in quietly (still in D major) before a short contrasting middle section in B-flat major. The entire section is repeated.

A more dour waltz 3A is introduced in G major before a fleeting eighth-note melodic phrase (waltz 3B). A loud Intrada (introduction) is then played. Waltz 4A starts off in a romantic mood (F major) before a more joyous waltz 4B in the same key.

After another short Intrada in A, cadencing in F-sharp minor, sonorous clarinets spell out the poignant melody of waltz 5A in A. Waltz 5B is the climax, punctuated by cymbal crashes. Each of these may be repeated at the discretion of the performer.

The coda recalls earlier sections (3A and 2A) before furious chords usher in a recap of the romantic Waltz 4A. The idyll is cut short as the waltz hurries back to the famous waltz theme 1A again. This statement is cut short, however, by the final codetta: a variation of 1A is presented, connecting to a rushing eighth-note passage in the final few bars: repeated tonic chords underlined by a snare drum roll and a bright-sounding flourish.

A typical performance lasts around 10 minutes, with the seven-minute main piece, followed by a three-minute coda.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

James Last Blue Danube Waltz Johan Strauss

1. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 279: Morgenblatter 00:00
2. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 314: An Der Schonen Blauen Donau 8:39
3. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 316: Kunstlerleben 17:38
4. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 346: Tausendundeine Nacht 26:20
5. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 354: Wiener Blut 33:40
6. Walzer for Orchestra, Op. 388: Rosen Auf Dem Suden 38:01
7. Ein Musikalischer Scherz for Orchestra, Op. 257: Perpetuum Mobile 45:39
8. Der Zigeunerbaron: Overture 49:33
9. Die Fledermaus: Overture 56:58
10. Polka for Orchestra, Op. 214: Tritsch-Tratsch 1:05:23
11. Polka Schnell for Orchestra, Op. 319: Leichtes Blut 1:07:55
12. Kaiserwalzer for Orchestra, Op. 437 1:10:26

Johann Strauss - Waltzes und Polkas
Published on Feb 5, 2013
1. Annen Polka Op. 117
2. Kaizer Waltzer Op. 437
3. Rosen Aus Dem Suden Op.388
4. Eljen a Magyar Op. 332
5. Blue Danube Op.314
6. Pizzicato Polka
7. Radetzky March Op.228
8. Fruhlingstimmen Op.410
9. Tritsch-Tratsch Polka Op.214
Performed By Wiener Philharmoniker, Willi Boskovsky

1. Egyptischer Marsch, Op. 353 00:00
2. Wettrennen-Galopp, Op. 29a 4:00
3. Radetzky-Marsch, Op. 228 5:53
4. Spanischer Marsch, Op. 433 8:50
5. Napoleon-Marsch, Op. 156 13:33
6. Sperl-Galopp, Op. 42 16:21
7. Banditen-Galopp, Op. 378 18:23
8. Russischer Marsch, Op. 426 20:37
9. Mit Extrapost, Op. 259 24:00
10. Persischer Marsch. Op. 289 55:59
11. Delirien, Op. 212 27:57
12. Orpheus-Quadrille, Op. 236 36:08
13. Schutzen-Quadrille 42:14
14. Aufs Korn, Op. 478 49:05

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