Posted on Mar 12, 2022 219
The famous Austrian composer Johann Strauss, known as the “King of Waltzes,” came from a dynasty famous for its successes in the art of music. His prodigious talent took him to the very top of fame, and he deservedly so - during his life Strauss composed many wonderful pieces, many of which have become recognized classics, and today they are regularly performed in conservatories and concert halls around the world.
Facts from Johann Strauss’ biography.
- His father’s name was exactly the same, Johann Strauss, and he, too, was a famous composer and conductor.
- Johann Jr.’s two brothers also became famous as musicians and composers, but still he became even more famous than they were.
- The composer had Jewish roots. His great-grandfather, who had once converted to Catholicism, was Jewish.
- Strauss’s works were admired by all kinds of composers, from Offenbach to Wagner, from Lehar to Tchaikovsky.
- Johann Strauss’s father, a famous musician, wished that his son would become a banker. But the future composer did not agree with him and he learnt to play the violin in secret, with his mother’s help.
- Having trained at the High Commercial School under his father’s wishes, Strauss also received a musical education at the same time, earning him glowing recommendations from eminent teachers.
- When he was about to receive his music license, his mother divorced him for fear that his father could use his influence to prevent him.
- His father disinherited him and his brothers and officially married his mistress, by whom he already had 7 other children.
- Johann Strauss put together his own orchestra, which performed mostly his own works, but his father got in his way a lot. Jealous of his son’s success, he obstructed his activities in every way - scandalizing him, denying him access to social events and putting obstacles in the way of venues that played his son’s music.
- When in the middle of the 19th century the Austrian Empire was shaken by the revolution, Strauss supported the revolutionaries and he wrote several compositions in their support. He was later arrested for this, but was soon acquitted.
- Despite the feud with his father, after the death of the latter the composer published at his own expense the complete collection of his works, wrote in his honor the march “Aeolian Harp” and performed Mozart’s “Requiem” on his grave.
- His first wife at the time of his marriage had seven children out of wedlock from different men. Their married life was happy and harmonious.
- When fame and acclaim came into Strauss’s life, he toured extensively in various countries, including France, Germany and the United States.
- Touring Europe with his works, Strauss became so popular that he engaged both of his brothers, Joseph and Eduard, in concert activities.
- Mindful of his father’s jealousy, when asked about his brothers he always remarked, “they are more talented than me, and I just got lucky.”
- The composer was married three times. His first wife died, his second marriage quickly fell apart, but his third was a happy one. True, his wife, a Jewess, refused to convert to his faith, so it was impossible to get married in the Catholic Church. In order to marry, Johann Strauss adopted Protestantism and Germanic citizenship.
- Despite three marriages, Johann Strauss had no children of his own.
- During his lifetime the great composer composed 496 works, including 168 waltzes, 117 polkas, 73 cadrilles, 43 marches, 31 mazurkas, 15 operettas, a comic opera, and a ballet.
- During his lifetime, Johann Strauss became so famous that his 70th birthday in 1895 was widely celebrated in Europe.
- Under the Nazi regime in the XX century in Germany, an attempt was made to hide the Jewish roots of Johann Strauss by falsified documents.