The Romantic Era

nineteenth century

(Classical Music Map)


I. History of Classical Music  (by John Stanley)
The great composers and their masterworks in MP3 format
Albeniz Borodin Donizetti Hindemith Prokofiev Schutz
Albinoni Brahms Dowland Janacek Puccini Scriabin
Allegri Britten Dvorak Kodaly Purcell Sibelius
Arne Bruckner Falla Leoncavallo Rachmaninov Smetana
Auber Busoni Field Liszt Rameau Strauss J.S.
Bach Byrd Gabrieli Lully Ravel Strauss R.
Barber Carissimi Gershwin Mahler Respighi Stravinsky
Bartok Charpentier Gesualdo Mendelssohn Rimsky-Korsakov Tallis
Beethoven Cherubini Glinka Meyerbeer Rossini Tchaikovsky
Bellini Chopin Gluck Monteverdi Saint-Saens Telemann
Bernstein Clementi Gounod Mozart Scarlatti Verdi
Berwald Corelli Grieg Mussorgsky Schoenberg Victoria
Berlioz Couperin Handel Pachelbel Shostakovich Villa-Lobos
Bizet Debussy Haydn Paganini Schubert Vivaldi
Boccherini Delibes Hildegard Palestrina Schumann Wagner
Orff  "Carmina Burana"
II. History of Jazz

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.


Johann Strauss II



Johann Strauss the Younger (1825-1899)



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



Eugene Delacroix





















J.S. Strauss







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