Johann Strauss the Younger


Strauss (strous, Ger. shtrous), family of Viennese musicians. Johann Strauss, 1804–49, learned to play the violin against his parents' wishes. In 1819 he joined the dance orchestra of Josef Lanner (1801–43), whom he later rivaled. In 1826 Strauss organized his own orchestra. His waltzes won him fame that was extended over all Europe when he toured Austria (1833) and played in Berlin (1834) and in Paris and London (1837–38). His son, Johann Strauss, 1825–99, followed a musical career against his father's wishes. In 1844 he formed an orchestra that was immediately successful and became the rival of his father's. After the elder Johann's death, the son combined the two orchestras. He composed more than 400 waltzes, on which his fame largely rests and which include the enormously popular Blue Danube (1866) and Tales from the Vienna Woods (1868). With these he brought the Viennese waltz to a height of musical artistry, endowing it with new melodic, rhythmic, and orchestral richness. He also composed a number of operettas of which Die Fledermaus [the bat] (1874) and Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron, 1885) are outstanding. His other works for the stage were hampered by their inadequate librettos and a lack of dramatic interest. Two of his brothers, Josef Strauss, 1827–70, and Eduard Strauss, 1835–1916, were also successful composers and conductors.

See biography of Johann (father and son) by H. Fantel (1972). See also biographies of the Strauss family, by J. Pastene (1951, repr. 1971) and J. Wechsberg (1973).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Johann Strauss, Father and Son: A Century of Light Music
H. E. Jacob; Marguerite Wolff.
The Greystone Press, 1940
Legend of a Musical City
Max Graf.
Philosophical Library, 1945
Librarian’s tip: "Popular Music-- Johann Strauss" begins on p. 221
Conductors on Composers
John L. Holmes.
Greenwood Press, 1993
Librarian’s tip: "Johann Strauss (1825-1899)" begins on p. 178
Operetta: A Theatrical History
Richard Traubner.
Routledge, 2003 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Johann Strauss begins on p. 111
Music Criticisms, 1846-99
Eduard Hanslick; Henry Pleasants; Henry Pleasants.
Penguin Books, 1963 (Revised edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Johann Strauss [1899]" begins on p. 304
Composers of Yesterday: A Biographical and Critical Guide to the Most Important Composers of the Past
David Ewen; David Ewen.
H. W. Wilson, 1937
Librarian’s tip: "Johann Strauss, II 1825-1899" begins on p. 410
Opera and the Culture of Fascism
Jeremy Tambling.
Clarendon Press, 1996
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 7 "Conducting from the Right: Strauss, Kitsch, and Nihilism"
The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera
John Warrack; Ewan West.
Oxford University Press, 1996 (3rd edition)
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