150 years of the Blue Danube Waltz
Vienna has a museum that is exclusively devoted to the history and artistic output of the Strauss clan. Opened in spring 2015, the Museum of the Johann Strauss Dynasty in the ninth district shows an impressive range of pictures and documents dating from the Biedermeier to Ringstrasse eras. Audio stations with earphones throughout the museum give fans a chance to listen to popular and less well-known pieces from the family canon as often as they like, without any distractions. A temporary exhibition at the museum from February 16-December 31, 2017 to mark the piece’s 150th anniversary will look at the historic backstory that led to the birth of the Blue Danube Waltz. Opening on May 12, 2017, the Danube, So Blue exhibition at the Vienna Library inside City Hall also looks at the history and impact of this unique composition.
The Blue Danube Waltz was composed at Praterstrasse 54, where Johann Strauss II lived in 1867. His most famous work, called “An der schönen blauen Donau” in German, has been adopted by Vienna as its unofficial anthem. The apartment once lived in by the Waltz King and his family still exists and is open to the public. In addition to original furnishings and period instruments, exhibits include everyday objects from the great composer’s estate as well as portraits, photos, and documents on his life and work. Johann Strauss (1825-1899), known to family and friends as Schani, his father Johann and his brothers Josef and Eduard took the world by storm with their music. With 1,500 works between them, from Die Fledermaus and The Radetzky March to the Blue Danube Waltz, the Strauss clan remain the embodiment of Viennese music. Their waltz and operetta melodies can be heard in the capital’s concert halls throughout the year as well as at the traditional New Year’s Concert, which is broadcast all over the world from the Golden Hall of the Musikverein.
It goes without saying that there is a Johann Strauss Monument in Vienna. This golden statue of the Waltz King playing his violin can be found in Stadtpark, a short distance from the Kursalon. The Vienna Philharmonic played at its unveiling in 1921 and today it is one of the most photographed sights in the city. The third floor of the House of Music in the first district is dedicated to Johann Strauss, in a fitting tribute to the great maestro. The Waltz King was laid to rest at Vienna’s legendary Central Cemetery, near the graves of Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms and Johann Strauss the Elder.
- Museum of the Johann Strauss Dynasty, Müllnergasse 3, 1090 Vienna, www.strauss-museum.at
- 150 Years of the Blue Danube Waltz, Feb 2-Dec 31, 2017, Museum of the Johann Strauss Dynasty, Müllnergasse 3, 1090 Vienna, www.strauss-museum.at
- Danube, so blue, Dec 7, 2016-May 12, 2017, Vienna Library at City Hall, entrance on Felderstrasse, stairwell 6, 1st floor, 1010 Vienna, www.wienbibliothek.at
- Johann Strauss Apartment, Praterstrasse 54, 1020 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at
- New Year’s Day Concert by the Vienna Philharmonic, Jan 1, 2018 (dress rehearsal Dec 30, 2017, New Year’s Eve Concert Dec 31, 2017), Musikverein, Musikvereinsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.wienerphilharmoniker.at
- Johann Strauss Memorial, Stadtpark, 1010 Vienna
- House of Music. The Museum of Sound, Seilerstätte 30, 1010 Vienna, www.hdm.at
- Central Cemetery, Simmeringer Hauptstrasse 234, 1110 Vienna, www.friedhoefewien.at