Sunday, June 15, 2014

Johan Strauss Jr - Vienna Blood Waltz

Who was the greatest father in classical music history?  An interesting intellectual challenge for Father's Day.  You could pick J. S. Bach, with four children who carried on his musical tradition.  You could pick Leopold Mozart, composer, musician, and father of the greatest composer who ever drew breath.

Unfortunately, I've already posted about them, and so they're out.

But Johan Strauss Sr. was the patriarch of a musical clan that nearly approached Bach's.  Strauss Sr was a great popularizer of the Waltz, setting the stage for Strauss Jr and his two other composer sons (and grandson).  Sadly, Johan Sr was not a model father: he had a mistress with whom he fathered a number of children (leading to his divorce by his long suffering wife); he was a bit of a tyrant to his sons, trying to suppress their emergent musical talent; and he was explicitly competitive with Johan Jr once that son began to establish his reputation as a musician.  A sad lesson for this Father's Day indeed.  And so we must conclude that Johan Strauss Sr wasn't the best father in classical music history, not even close.

But his son went on to be known as the Waltz King, and to far surpass his father in reputation and admiration.  This piece was written at the request of the Austrian Imperial family for the celebration of the marriage of Archduchess Louise Maria in 1873.  However, the waltz form, while no longer considered scandalous, was still not something that the Emperor would allow in his court opera house, and so the celebration had to be moved to accommodate the (wildly popular) festivities.


Old NFO said...

Hadn't thought of it in that light, but one can only wonder if the competition caused Strauss Junior to up his game! :-)

Chickenmom said...

What beautiful music! Always will put you in a good mood!

libertyman said...

Excellent class !
Happy fathers say Ted!

libertyman said...

Or rather, "happy Father's Day , Ted"