Learning to Listen: The Strauss Family

by Emily Reese, Minnesota Public Radio
December 30, 2013

St. Paul, Minn. — On the first day of every year, the doors of the famed Musikverein open for the Vienna Philharmonic's New Year's Concert.

The concert is a celebration of dance music written by Austrian composers — notably, the Strauss family.

You can hear that concert live at 10 a.m. on Wednesday on Classical MPR.

Johann Strauss, Sr., played violin in a small dance orchestra run by Josef Lanner. Strauss watched Lanner become a star by writing and performing waltzes and other dances, so Strauss started writing them, too. They split and became rivals (although the rivalry was more friendly than hostile).

Strauss's three sons — Johann Jr., Josef and Eduard — followed in their father's footsteps.

Johann Jr. (sometimes referred to Johann II), enjoyed the most fame, and earned the nickname The Waltz King.

Josef was perhaps the most talented of the three, but little of his music survives.

Eduard had more musical training than either of his brothers, yet was the least famous.

The Vienna Phil's New Year's Concert always ends with the same two pieces (oddly missing from the upcoming program) — the most famous works of Johann Sr. and Jr.

From Johann Jr.:

And you can see what the Musikverein looks like in this video of the famous "Radetzky March" from Johann Sr. (music starts at :40).

Tune in today at noon for Learning to Listen to hear more music from the famous Strauss family.

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