Walzerkönig Johann Strauss in den Sofiensälen Wien

Die wahre Heimat des Wiener Walzers

- Strauss in the Sofiensäle -

The King of Waltz Johann Strauss (1825-1899)

Johann Strauss was born on 25 October 1825 in the present-day part of Vienna known as Neubau, the oldest of 6 six children. Because of his magnificent work as a conductor and composer, he was crowned the "King of Waltz" already during his lifetime. His family called him Schani, a nickname for the composer that was also common among his musician friends. To distinguish him from his father of the same name, he was also referred to as "Johann Strauss Sohn ("Junior")".

Johann Strauss' ascent to the top

Johann Strauss' father, who together with his friend Josef Lanner created the waltz in its present form, was strictly against every effort by his son to become a musician as well. His father originally envisioned a career as a civil servant for him, although his mother Anna recognized her son's genius and supported him in his musical ambitions.

Johann Strauss secretively trained to become a musician and, following in the footsteps of his father, he established his own orchestra in 1844.
On 15 October 1844, without his father's consent, Johann Strauss made his first public appearance with his own orchestra and compositions in the Dommayer casino in Hietzing.
The debut was a triumphant success, with the press announcing: "Good night, Lanner! Good evening Strauss Senior! Good morning Strauss Junior!

Because he composed several pieces for the revolutionaries in 1848 – e.g. the Waltz Song of Freedom and the Revolution March – he fell out of favour with the courts despite his popularity; it was for this reason that it was not until 1863 that Kaiser Franz Joseph I. first awarded him the title "k. u k. Hofball-Musikdirektor" (Royal Court Ball Music Director).

Following the death of his father in 1849, he took over his orchestra and quickly progressed to "King of Waltz" for the imperial and royal society that demanded entertainment.

Concert tours soon led him throughout Europe, North America and Russia. The new dance and the enchanting melodies captivated the entire world. Johann Strauss and his brothers made the waltz popular around the globe on innumerable tours and engagements.

The fascination with his music was something even the Imperial Court could not evade and so from 1851 onwards he was allowed to perform more often in the Hofburg Palace. In April 1854, Johann Strauss even directed the grand Court Ball in the Redouten Halls on the occasion of the wedding celebrations of Franz Josef and the future princess Elisabeth.

He now directed all Court Balls until 1871. During this time, Strauss composed only dance music, which established his reputation as the "King of Waltz". In 1886/67, he composed the Danube Waltz (“An der schönen blauen Donau”) that would later become known around the world and today serves as the unofficial hymn of Vienna and Austria. In 1871, his request for dismissal from his post was granted; at the same time, he was awarded the Order of Franz Josef. His brother Eduard Strauss then became director of the Court Balls.

It was Jacques Offenbach, whom he met in 1864, that encouraged Strauss to compose operettas. On 10 February 1871, his first operetta, Indigo and the Forty Thieves, premiered at the Vienna Theatre. The debut performance of his most successful and probably best known operetta, Die Fledermaus ("The Bat"), took place on 5 April 1874 at the same theatre. This work was included in the repertoire of the k.u. k. Court Opera (known today as the Vienna State Opera) in 1894 and remains the only operetta that is still played there today. A series of operetta premieres followed, including Der lustige Krieg ("The Merry War") and Eine Nacht in Venedig ("A Night in Venice"). Strauss had become a key figure in the "Golden Era of the Vienna Operetta".

Johann Strauss died on 3 June1899 of pneumonia. After the service, with the help of many thousands in attendance, his coffin was carried to the Central Cemetery in Vienna, passing en route the domains of the Theatre an der Wien, the Court Opera and the Music Society building. Strauss was laid to rest in a grave of honour that placed him close to other renowned musicians such as Beethoven, Schubert and Brahms.

The compositions by the Strauss family remain among the most-loved melodies from classical entertainment and are celebrated every year at the New Year's concert by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Johann Strauss in the Sofiensäle

On 12 January 1848, the Sofiensäle was the site of a festive ball for the benefit of a children's hospital. The conductor was Johann Strauss (Senior).

Afterwards, the Sofiensäle was the original venue for Johann Strauss Junior and his orchestra and more than 200 concerts were conducted there by him between 1850 and 1898.

Johann Strauss (Junior) premiered close to 100 of his works – waltzes, polkas and quadrilles – in the Sofiensäle, including the polkas “Satanella”, “Zäpperl”, “Stürmisch in Lieb' und Tanz Schnell” and the quadrilles “Sophien-Quadrille”, “Santanella-Quadrille”, “Artist-Quadrille”, “Slaven-Ball-Quadrille” and the “Göttin der Vernunft”.

His works

Strauss composed one opera, fifteen operettas, one ballet as well as close to five hundred waltzes, polkas, marches and quadrilles.

A selection of his works:

Ritter Pázmán (1892)

Carneval in Rom, Premiere: March 1st 1873, Theater an der Wien
Die Fledermaus, Premiere: April 3rd 1874, Theater an der Wien
Das Spitzentuch der Königin, Premiere: October 1st 1880, Theater an der Wien
Der Zigeunerbaron, Premiere: October 24th 1885, Theater an der Wien
Eine Nacht in Venedig, Premiere: October 3rd 1883, Neues Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtisches Theater, Berlin

Aschenbrödel (Premiere 1901)

Wein, Weib und Gesang! op. 333 (1869), dedicated to the austrian conductor Johann von Herbeck
Wiener Bonbons op. 307 (1866), dedicated to the austrian salonnière princess Pauline von Metternich
An der schönen blauen Donau op. 314 (1867)
Freuet Euch des Lebens op. 340 (1870)
Neu-Wien op. 342 (1870), dedicated to the patron of music-live in Vienna Nikolaus Dumba
Tausend und eine Nacht op. 346 (1871)
Wiener Blut op. 354 (1873), dedicated to the emperor of Denmark Christian IX.
Wo die Citronen blüh’n! op. 364 (1874), premiere in the Teatro Regio in Turin
Kaiser-Walzer op. 437 (1888)

Herzenslust op. 3 (1844), premiered on his first concert in Dommayers Casino on October 15th
Jux-Polka op. 17 (1846), written for the industry-ball
Albion-Polka op. 102 (1851), dedicated to prince Albert von Sachsen-Coburg und Gotha
Annen-Polka op. 117 (1852), dedicated to Maria Anna, empress of Austria
Satanella-Polka op. 124 (1853), written for the Satanella-ball in the Sofiensälen
Aesculap-Polka op. 130 (1853), dedicated tot he viennese medical scienc students
Elisen-Polka Polka française op. 151 (1854)
Haute volée-Polka op. 155 (1854), written to the 24th birthday of emperor Franz Joseph I.
Schnellpost-Polka op. 159
Aurora-Polka op. 165 (1855), written for the Aurora-ball in the coffeehouse Sperl
Leopoldstädter Polka op. 168
Sans-souci-Polka op. 178 (1856)
Pawlowsk-Polka op. 184 (1856)
Une Bagatelle Polka-Mazur op. 187 (1857), written for the Aurora-ball in the coffeehouse Sperl
Herzel-Polka op. 188 (1857)
Olga-Polka op. 196 (1857), dedicated to the archduchess Olga Fjodorowna von Baden (1839–1891)
Alexandrine-Polka op. 198 (1857), premiere in the Pawlowsk
L'Enfantillage (Zäpperl Polka) op. 202 (1858), written for a beneficial ball in the Sofiensälen
Champagner-Polka (Musikalischer Scherz) op. 211 (1858), dedicated to Carl Freiherr von Bruck
Bonbon-Polka Polka française op. 213 (1858)
Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka op. 214 (1858)
Nachtigallen-Polka op. 222 (1859), premiere in Ungers Casino
Gruß an Wien Polka française op. 225 (1859), premiere in the Volksgarten
Camelien-Polka (schnell) op. 248 (1861), written for the Camelien-ball
Studenten-Polka op. 263 (1862), written for the students-ball in the Redoutensaal and dedicated to the students in Vienna
Kinderspiele-Polka (française) op. 304 (1865), written for a concert in the Hofburg
Leichtes Blut Polka (schnell) op. 319 (1867)
Figaro-Polka op. 320 (1867), premiere at the word exhibition and dedicated to Hippolyte de Villemessant (1810–1879), founder of the newspaper Le Figaro
Stadt und Land Polka-Mazur op. 322 (1868)
Fledermaus-Polka op. 362
An der Moldau Polka française op. 366
Glücklich ist, wer vergißt! Polka-Mazurka op. 368 (1874)
Stürmisch in Lieb' und Tanz Schnell-Polka op. 393 (1881), written for the Concordia-ball in the Sofiensälen

Austria-Marsch op. 20 (1846) Revolutions-Marsch op. 54 (1848)
Kaiser Franz Joseph-Marsch op. 67 (1849), written for the 19th birthday of emperor Kaiser Franz Joseph I.
Triumph-Marsch op. 69 (1850)
Viribus unitis op. 96 (1851), to the 21st birthday of the emperor
Großfürsten-Marsch op. 107 (1852), dedicated to the russian grand duke Nikolai and Michael Romanow
Kron-Marsch op. 139 (1853)
Napoleon-Marsch op. 156 (1854), dedicated to the french emperor Napoleon III.
Krönungs-Marsch op. 183 (1856), written for the coronation of the russian zar Alexander II.
Verbrüderungs-Marsch op. 287 (1864), writtten for the prussian king Wilhelm I., the latter German emperor
Persischer Marsch op. 289 (1864), dedicated to the schah of Persia Nasreddin
Indigo-Marsch op. 349 (1871),
Jubelfest-Marsch op. 396 (1881), dedicated to Kronprinz Rudolf of Austria-Hungary to his wedding with Stephanie from Belgium
Frisch ins Feld op. 398 (1882)
Habsburg hoch! op. 408 (1882),written for the celebrations of „600 years Habsburgs“
Russischer Marsch op. 426 (1886), dedicated to the zar Alexander III. from Russia
Spanischer Marsch op. 433 (1888), dedicated to Maria Christina from Austria
Fest-Marsch op. 452 (1893), dedicated to Ferdinand I., Zar of Bulgaria
Deutschmeister-Jubiläums-Marsch op. 470 (1896), dedicated to the Hoch- und Deutschmeister Nr. 4
Auf's Korn op. 478 (1898)

Serben-Quadrille op. 14 (1846), dedicated to the prince of Serbia Mihailo Obrenović III.
Alexander-Quadrille op. 33 (1847), dedicated tot he serbian prince Aleksandar Karađorđević
Industrie-Quadrille op. 35 (1847)
Wilhelminen-Quadrille op. 37 (1847)
Seladon Quadrille op. 48 (1847)
Marien-Quadrille op. 51 (1847/48), premiere in Bukarest and dedicated to „Princess Marie of Bibesco“
Quadrille nach Motiven der Oper „Der Blitz“ von F. Halévy op. 59 (1848)
Sanssouci Quadrille op. 63 (1849), premiere in the Café Sans-Souci
Künstler-Quadrille op. 71 (1849
Sophien-Quadrille op. 75 (1850), premiere in the Sofiensälen
Bonvivant-Quadrille op. 86 (1850), written for the 20th birtsday of emperor Franz Joseph I.
Slaven-Ball Quadrille op. 88 (1851), written for Slaven-ball in the Sofiensälen
Maskenfest-Quadrille op. 92 (1851)
Promenade-Quadrille op. 98 (1851), premiere in the Volksgarten
Tête-à-Tête-Quadrille op. 109 (1852), premiere in Bratislava
Satanella-Quadrille op. 123 (1853), written for the Satanella-Ball in the Sofiensäle
Motor-Quadrille op. 129 (1853), written for the engineer-students-ball in the Sofiensälen and dedicated to the engineer students in Vienna
Carnevals-Spectakel-Quadrille op. 152 (1854), premiere in Schwenders Kolosseum in Hietzing
Nordstern-Quadrille op. 153 (1854), premiere in Ungers Casino
Handels-Elite-Quadrille op. 166 (1855), premiere in the Sperl
Bijouterie-Quadrille op. 169 (1855)
Künstler-Quadrille op. 201 (1858), written for the artist ball in the Sofiensäle and dedicated to the artists in Vienna
Orpheus-Quadrille op. 236 (1860), premiere in the „Gasthaus Zum Großen Zeisig“ on Spittelberg
„Un ballo in maschera“, Quadrille op. 272 (1862)
Quadrille sur des airs français op. 290 (1864)
Festival-Quadrille op. 341 (1867), premiere in the Covent Garden, London
Indigo-Quadrille op. 344 (1871)
Rotunde-Quadrille op. 360 (1873), premiere in the music-pavillon at the Rotunde in the Vienna Prater during the world exhibition and dedicated to the general-director Wilhelm Freiherr von Schwarz-Senborn
Fledermaus-Quadrille op. 363 (1874)
Opern-Maskenball-Quadrille op. 384 (1879)
Spitzentuch-Quadrille op. 392 (1881)
Der lustige Krieg op. 402 (1882)
Waldmeister-Quadrille op. 468 (1896)
Göttin der Vernunft. op. 476 (1898), his last quadrille, premiere at the artchitects-ball in the Sofiensäle