Holiday Shop


Johann Strauss Jr.

Biography

Born: Oct 25, 1825; Austria   Died: Jun 3, 1899; Austria   Period: Romantic
Johann Strauss, Jr. is the first truly well-known composer in those classical genres particular to his hometown, the Viennese waltz and Viennese operetta. The Blue Danube Waltz is not only the most popular of his works in the former category, but is among the most widely played and arranged pieces of its time, known to the most casual listener today from many radio, film and television uses of it.
Johann Strauss, Jr. was born in Vienna
Read more on October 25, 1825. He showed remarkable skills early in his childhood, despite his father's opposition to any career in music for any of his three sons. Johann, Sr. wanted him to become a banker, but the younger Strauss had his own ideas, taking violin lessons in secret from a player in his father's band. When Strauss was 17 his father left the family, thus allowing him to begin serious study without encumbrance. His mother, a good amateur violinist who had always encouraged him, remained supportive. Strauss now studied theory with Joseph Drechsler and took violin lessons from Anton Kohlmann. In 1844 young Johann led his first concert and a year later formed his own band, thereby competing with his father's orchestra. He was also writing his own quadrilles, mazurkas, polkas, and waltzes for performance by his ensemble, even conducting works by his father, and receiving praise from the press. He was given the honorary position of Bandmaster of the 2nd Vienna Citizens' Regiment (his father was bandmaster of the 1st regiment) in 1845, and in 1847 began composing for the Vienna Men's Choral Association.
His real success began in 1849 after Johann Strauss, Sr. died. Johann, Jr. merged his father's orchestra with his own and took up his father's contracts. His career moved along smoothly for the next several years, but in 1853 he became seriously ill and turned over conducting duties to his younger brother, Josef, for six months. After his recovery he resumed fully both his conducting and his composing activities, eventually gaining the respect of such composers as Brahms, Wagner, and Verdi for his seemingly unlimited imagination for using melodies.
Strauss married singer Henriette "Jetty" Treffz in August 1862, and they settled in Hietzing. Thereafter, she became his business manager and apparently a great inspiration, drawing him toward operetta, just as Viennese theater operators were becoming tired of the works of Offenbach. His first, Indigo und die vierzig Räuber, came in 1871, and his most famous, Die Fledermaus, was staged three years later with great success. Eine Nacht in Venedig (1883) and Der Zigeunerbaron (1885) were his only other international operetta hits.
In 1872, he traveled to the United States and led highly successful concerts in Boston and New York. For all the success that came in the 1870s for Strauss, there was also much grief: his mother and brother Josef died in 1870, and his wife died suddenly of a heart attack in 1878. Her death devastated him, and the suddenly helpless composer unwisely married the much-younger actress Angelika Dittrich, six weeks later. The marriage lasted only four years, though it may have saved the composer from personal disaster in the months following his wife's death.
Strauss, a Roman Catholic, left the church and had to give up his Austrian citizenship to marry Adele Deutsch in 1887, owing to the Church's unwillingness to recognize his divorce. His new wife, with whom he had lived for a long period before their marriage, seemed to inspire him much like his first wife. In his last years, Strauss remained quite productive and active. He was working on a ballet, Cinderella, when he developed a respiratory ailment which grew into pneumonia. He died on June 3, 1899. Read less
Johann Strauss II at the Opera
Release Date: 09/09/2014   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 578287   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $9.99
CD: $7.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $9.99   CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Strauss Johann: Most Famous Waltzes
Release Date: 06/30/1992   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550152   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $9.99
CD: $7.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $9.99   CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Johann Strauss Jr.: Simplicius / Welser-Most, Volle, Zysset, Widmer
Release Date: 11/18/2014   Label: Arthaus Musik  
Catalog: 100365   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $29.99
DVD: $26.99
In Stock
On sale!   $29.99   DVD:  $26.99 Add DVD to Cart

J. Strauss Jr.: 100 Most Famous Waltzes, Etc Vol 9
Release Date: 10/26/1999   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 554525   Number of Discs: 1
On sale!
CD: $7.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!     CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Strauss: Famous Waltzes, Polkas, Marches, Overtures Vol 4
Release Date: 02/15/1994   Label: Naxos  
Catalog: 8550339   Number of Discs: 1
On sale! $9.99
CD: $7.99
In Stock
MP3 Available
On sale!   $9.99   CD:  $7.99 Add CD to Cart

MP3:  $7.99 Add MP3 to Cart

Work: Die Fledermaus: Overture

 

About This Work
There's nothing like a good trailer to tell you what's coming up. The overture to Die Fledermaus tempts the listener with sweet melody, bouncy rhythms, and thrilling scoring that hints at the mistaken identity, gala ball, and humorous plot twists Read more that are to come.

In 1873, Viennese theater owners were looking for an alternative to imported Offenbach, and perhaps were also trying to distract the public from the city's economic depression. The director of the Theater an der Wien purchased the rights to the Parisian vaudeville Le Réveillon by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. He eventually gave the work to the theater's conductor, Richard Genée and Johann Strauss, Jr., to write the operetta. Die Fledermaus, as it came to be known, is about a woman, her lover, her husband, and her maid, a grand ball, and the wrong man being thrown in jail.

The overture starts with a three-note motif, heard in the Act III trio of Rosalinde, Eisenstein (her husband), and Alfred (her lover, who, mistaken for Eisenstein, has been put in jail). The motif is used throughout the overture, insistently telling the audience "Yes, it's me!" as Eisenstein and the others, near the end of the operetta, try to figure out what has happened. Following the overture's opening section, there is an Allegretto, the accompaniment of the Act III trio con moto. It's a light, questioning tune in simple meter, which is answered when the overture next moves into the accompaniment to the theme from the Act III finale, where all is explained. A bridge sounded by horns and flutes leads into rushing violins and the sweeping waltz that is the finale of Act II. The party guests dance to the melody that is equal to Strauss' Blue Danube. This is abruptly followed by the announcement of the next section, a flowing, minor tune that exaggerates Rosalinde's disappointment in Act I at not being able to attend the ball. What follows is the bouncy polka that represents the excitement that Adele's (Rosalinde's maid) and Eisenstein's invitations to the ball bring to them. Brief reprises of the themes from the finales of Acts III and II are heard just before the overture makes its way, with another reference to the polka, to its grand and exciting end.

At the premiere of the operetta, conducted by Strauss, the overture was interrupted several times by applause. One Viennese critic called it the "pièce de resistance" of the operetta. It's a sumptuous glimpse of the memorable melodies that await the Die Fledermaus' audience.

-- Patsy Morita
Read less

Select a specific Conductor, Ensemble or Label or browse recordings by Formats & Featured below

or
ArkivMusic Recommendation

Ensembles



YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In