Johann Strauss Jr – Waltz King
Johann Strauss Jr. was Vienna’s greatest composer of light music. He is known for his waltzes and operettas.
Johann Strauss, Jr., was the eldest son of Johann Strauss, Sr., a famous composer and conductor, known as “the father of the waltz.” Johann composed his first waltz at the age of 6. At the age of 19 he organized his own small orchestra, which performed some of his compositions in a restaurant in Hietzing.
Strauss toured throughout Europe and England with great success and also went to America. He was the official conductor of the court balls in Vienna (1863-1870) and during this time composed his most famous waltzes.
In 1863 Johann met Jacques Offenbach, Paris’s most popular composer of light operas. It was Offenbach’s stage works that encouraged Strauss to try writing operettas.
He wrote more than 150 waltzes, 100 polkas, 70 quadrilles, mazurkas, marches, and galops.
Olga Smirnitskaya and Johann Strauss love story
The fate of the great Austrian composer Johann Strauss was associated with Russia. In the summer of 1868 he met a rich girl whose love changed his life.
Children in Johann’s family practically did not see their father, and if he had to bring them up, he was very strict. In addition, he had a mistress who also gave birth to seven children. This fact seriously offended his lawful wife. But Strauss Sr. was not ashamed. On the contrary, he tried to humiliate his wife and punished children, who hated him.
Little Johann once promised to take revenge on his father, overshadowing him with his talent. Hardworking boy devoted himself to practicing music secretly from an ambitious parent. And very soon the young man was recognized as a promising conductor. The Russian ambassador, who noticed the talented young Austrian, invited him to Russia with concerts. So the future genius of music was near St. Petersburg, in Pavlovsk. It was in 1856. He was invited to give concerts in rich houses.
He admired the Russian ladies and spent a lot of time on them. One day he met a young aristocrat Olga Smirnitskaya. It is believed that they met in 1858, when Smirnitskaya asked the composer to perform at concerts her romances, which she wrote on the poems of famous Russian poets. He agreed and very soon realized that a simple sympathy for a young, beautiful girl developed into a great feeling. Russian love of the great composer still remains a mystery in his biography. However, the letters that were found by Dr. Thomas Aigner in 1992 in the archives of the Viennese library shed light on the tragic love story of the great musician.
He seriously wanted to marry a Russian aristocrat, and she agreed to their marriage. However, the girl’s parents were against. Strauss was not a nobleman and came from a poor family.
Confused Olga could not go against the will of her parents, and she categorically denied Strauss’s request to flee with him to Vienna.
The composer returned to Vienna alone. For a long time, he could not forget Smirnitskaya and suffered greatly. A year later, Strauss went to Pavlovsk again to see Smirnitskaya. However, she, frightened by the determination of an ardent composer, refused him completely. Olga broke up with a loving foreigner.
Johann Strauss left Pavlovsk. A few months later he learned that his beloved became the wife of a wealthy aristocrat, lawyer Alexander Lozinsky. The hope to connect his fate with his beloved woman died in one day.
The composer wanted to forget this story and began to have numerous love affairs. Anyway, Strauss got married. His fiancée was a former actress, the mother of seven children. In addition, she was seven years older. They were together for sixteen years. She died in 1878, and shocked Johann Strauss got married a month later.
His next wife was a young actress, a vain and cunning person. She spent nights with ardent admirers. The humiliated composer decided to leave his wife. But this time his loneliness was not long. He married again and lived with his third wife until his death. Johann Strauss died of pneumonia in 1899.
It is unknown what happened with Olga’s letters to the famous Austrian. Perhaps he burned them or, as he promised, took them to the grave. Strauss’ letters to Olga, which she kept at her faithful friend, were sold abroad and then, by a lucky chance, found in the library. Thanks to them, the descendants were able to uncover the mystery of Russian love of a brilliant musician.