Johann Strauss was an Austrian Romantic composer famous for the Viennese waltz. Despite his resistance his sons also became famous musicians.
He most famous piece is the ‘Radetzky March’, we have various arrangements on music-scores.com. It was written to commemorate the Field Marshall Radetsky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza.
Strauss parents were innkeepers, however, he was sadly orphaned at the age of twelve. His mother died of a fever when he was seven and his father drowned in the Danube. He became an apprentice to a bookbinder whilst learning the viola and violin. Once his apprenticeship had ended he managed to get a place with a local orchestra. Following this he joined a popular string quartet called the ‘Lanner Quartet’ created by his rival Joseph Lanner. They began popularising Viennese Waltzes and in 1824 expanded into a small string orchestra.
Strauss became deputy of the orchestra but then decided to set up his own band in 1825 and began writing music. Lanner was his rival but it was a friendly competitive rivally. He married Maria Anna Streim in that same year and they went on to have seven children. Strauss was a very strict parent stipulating that none of his children should enter into a musical career. His regime obviously failed as Josef and Eduard became conductors and Josef also composed waltzes and we all know of his eldest son Johann Strauss II. Due to Strass’s numerous tours and an affair, his marriage ended in divorce.
He went on to tour to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain. Royalty chose him to play at the opening state ball of Queen Victoria and later her coronation in London.
Strauss sadly died at the age of forty-five from scarlet fever which he apparently contracted from one of his illegitimate children. He rests alongside his friend Joseph Lanner in graves of honour at the Vienna Central Cemetary – ‘Zentralfriedhof‘.
Hector Berlioz the French composer referred to him as ‘Father of the Viennese Waltz’ by commenting that “Vienna without Strauss is like Austria without the Danube”.
Musical Downloads & Further Reading
On music-scores.com we have a few arrangements of Johann Strauss Op.228 Radetzky March Sheet Music.