There are an awful lot of Strausses in German music (and I include Austrian in that category though purists would say I probably shouldn’t).  Johann Strauss was a very successful Viennese band leader and composer who was instrumental in the development of the Waltz, a sexually revolutionary dance where couples actually danced in a (gasp) closed position.

Being such a dangerous degenerate he was of course wildly popular and toured with his band all over Europe and even performed at Queen Victoria’s coronation.

Like most successful Rock Stars the last thing he wanted was for his own (legitimate) family to follow in his footsteps of constant adulation and debauchery so for his sons he selected the professions of military and foreign service, and banking,

After he acknowledged his libertine ways by recognizing one of his illegitimate daughters, his wife divorced him and Junior, the banker, was free to take up his own musical career for which his father never forgave him.

While never quite as popular during his father’s lifetime as his Dad, Junior was quite popular indeed and soon had a band of his own.  When there was a revolution in Vienna in 1848 Junior sided with the Revolutionaries while Dad supported the Monarchy.  Junior was arrested for playing The Marseillaise in public, no doubt as part of his father’s Paris-Walzer which used the theme because Junior frequently performed Dad’s music.

Senior died the year after that and Junior took over his band.  When, after 4 years of constant touring, he took a little mental vacation, he recruited his brothers to run the band while he was resting.

Junior eventually eclipsed his father in fame and composed and performed constantly until his death at the turn of the century.  He was so influential that Hitler, rather than admit Junior’s Jewish heritage, had his birth records stolen and famously declared, “I decide who is Jewish.”

See, he was a deciderer too.

Any way tonight’s piece is Weiner Blut Op. 354, posted by TheWickedNorth.


  1. A little late tonight, but I needed the nap.

  2. to see if the first name is Leo, or something other than Leo.  

    As I’ve discovered in the process of writing many of my essays, the lives of well-known musicians are almost always fascinating, and without fail, include more than a few surprises.

    I would suppose that Strauss’ best known work was the “On the Blue Danube.”

    In the following video, Elizabeth Joy Roe and Greg Anderson play “On the Blue Danube.”  I can guarantee that you’ve never before seen or heard it played in this manner.

    The expanded description on the youtube site by Mr. Anderson includes the following:

    In composing this work, we sought to emphasize the emotions that hide beneath the surface of the typically restrained Viennese Waltz. Note: the narrative is not a representation of reality. Yes, we’re really playing the piano, but no, we didn’t actually meet over a lost mitten, and no, we’re not actually romantic lovers. 🙂

    Be sure to watch for:

    * The choreography of our hands. We wanted to show the similarity between four hands playing together on a piano and four feet on a dance floor.

    Be sure to listen for:

    * The musical combining of themes. At times, melodies are layered atop one another, most notably at the climax. Believe it or not, seven melodies from throughout the piece are being played simultaneously (7:49 – 8:10), a real compositional feat!

    Both the piece and the video are featured on the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo’s debut album, “Reimagine.” Greg Anderson & Elizabeth Joy Roe showcase their unique approach to classical music and the piano duo genre in this adrenalized album, featuring breathtaking music, a hard-core performance of Stravinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring,’ and a bonus DVD of music videos.

    One cannot help but be amazed with the pure talent, energy and enthusiam of this young duo.  This is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face!

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