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Johann Strauss

1825 - 1899

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 500 waltzespolkasquadrilles, 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.

Key Works

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.

"I don't care who sings this! Vienna will sing this! "

Johann Strauss

The best of Johann Strauss II

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

Berühmte Strauss Walzer

1. An der schönen blauen Donau op. 314 (0:00)
2. Rosen aus dem Süden op. 388 (9:33)
3. Wiener blut op. 354 (17:27)
4. Frühlingsstimmen op. 410 (24:45)
5. Künstlerleben op. 316 (30:37)
6. G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald op. 325 (38:36)
7. Kaiserwalzer op. 437 (49:38)

Orchestral Works Collection

Der Zigeunerbaron, Op. 418: "Ouverture" (00:00)
Der Zigeunerbaron, Op. 418: "Marcia" (02:12) 
Der Zigeunerbaron, Op. 418: "Finale with Chorus" (05:01)
Canto d'amore, Op. 114 (05:56)
Polka, Op. 117 "Annen" (15:18)
Perpetuum Mobile, Op. 257 (18:14)
Polka Ungherese, Op. 332 "Viva gli Ungheresi" (20:58)
Polka, Op. 319 "A cuor leggero" (23:34)
Polka Veloce, Op. 324 "Tuoni, lampi, fulmini." (26:14)
Polka Tritsch-Tratsch, Op. 214 (29:12) 
Marcia Persiana, Op. 289 (31:37)
Valzer Rose del sud, Op. 388 (33:49)
Valzer - Voci di primavera, Op. 410 (43:22) 
Valzer - Storielle del bosco Viennese, Op. 325 (50:47) 
Die Fledermaus: "Ouverture" (01:03:27)
Valzer sul Bel Danubio Bleu (01:11:25)
Valzer - Vita d'artista, Op. 316 (01:22:25) 
Valzer del Tesoro, Op. 418 (01:33:37) 
Valzer Wiener Bonbons, Op. 307 (01:40:48) 
Valzer, Op. 443 "Abbracciatevi milioni di uomini" (01:50:02) 
Valzer Sangue Viennese, Op. 354 (01:59:38) 
Valzer, Op. 333 "Vino, donne e canto" (02:08:28) 
Valzer, Op. 364 "Dove fioriscono i limoni" (02:13:53)
Valzer, Op. 234 "Accelerazione" (02:23:37) 
Valzer, Op. 279 "I giornali del mattino" (02:22:32) 

Statue of the Waltz King in Stadtpark, Vienna

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