Johann Strauss, the Elder can be described as one of the most famous composers of Viennese waltzes. He was born in the year 1804 at Vienna, Austria and during his earlier years, he was a viola player in the dance orchestra owned by Michael Pamer.
Later, he got an opportunity to conduct the orchestra of Josef Lanner and his stature as a musician has undergone tremendous amount of transformation when he performed at the gardens of ‘Zwei Tauben’. For him, it was the beginning of greater heights to be achieved and his performance at the ‘Sperl’, one of the most famous halls in the Leopoldstadt made him one of the most prominent composers of Viennese Waltzes. His followers used to call him ‘the Austrian Napoleon’ during those times and it was a clear indication of his stature as a musician.
Johann Strauss I – his works and achievements
He became the bandmaster to the 1st Vienna Militia Regiment in the year 1834 and as a token of appreciation for his achievements, he was appointed as the director of the imperial court balls in the very next year. He made several European trips to perform at various venues and a huge number of people all over the world became ardent fans of Johann Strauss I. Out of his 18 marches, the Radetzky March became the most popular one and Strauss’s popular works other than Waltzes include polkas, galops and quadrilles. All his creations truly represent the unique style of Viennese dance music and most of his works have won great appreciation from a huge number of people all over the world because of their charm of melodic design and rhythmic verve. He composed more than 150 waltzes and it can be said without an iota of doubt that he was one of the most outstanding composers and conductors of dance music. Though he died in the year 1849 his creations still inspire a lot of musicians all over the world.
Johann Strauss II – King of waltzes
Johann Strauss Jr. (October 25 1825 – June 3 1899) was the eldest son of Johann Strauss the Elder and his father wanted him to be a banker instead of a musician. On the contrary, he became a well known composer of light music, especially operettas and dance music and people used to call him ‘waltzes king’ because of his extraordinary musical talents. Johann Strauss Junior composed over 500 waltzes, quadrilles, polkas and other types of dance music. He played a big role in revolutionizing waltz in Vienna, Europe and United States and Strauss also composed several operettas and a ballet as well. Some of his outstanding works include The Blue Danube, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Pizzicato Polka, Kaiser-Walzer and Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka and all these works reflect the height of cultural achievement within the Hapsburg Empire.
The journey of Johann Strauss Jr. as a musician
He composed his first waltz at the age of six and his mother realized the true potential of her child. Since his father was not interested in making his son a musician Johann Strauss Jr. had to study music in secrecy during his childhood and at the age of 19, he became successful in organizing his own orchestra for performing his creations in various restaurants. After his father’s death, music became his profession and he had always shown great affinity towards waltz throughout his life. In 1863, Strauss Junior became the official conductor to the court in Vienna and his primary responsibility was to work as a conductor for court balls. He continued with this job till 1870 and during this tenure he mesmerized the world with some wonderful creations like ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’, Artist’s Life and ‘Wine, Women and Song’. His meeting with Jaques Offenbach, the famous composer of Parisian operettas motivated him to compose operettas and in 1874, he created a masterpiece operetta known as ‘Die Fledermaus’. He can be described as a master of melody and words seem to fail at the time of describing this creative talent of this genius. He was a composer with unparalleled energy levels and the breadth of his music was really wide as well. Strauss Junior travelled all across Europe and US to conduct a lot of concerts and his illustrious career as a musician played the most important role in popularizing waltz all over the world. There is not even an element of exaggeration when people say that Johann Strauss Jr. is the king of waltz.