'Waltz King,' as Johann Strauss Jr. was known, became the most famous
member of the musical dynasty that was the Strauss family. Strauss Sr.
had made the surname a household name in Vienna by producing numerous
waltzes for the dance music world of Vienna in the early 19th century.
Strauss Jr., however, was better.
Strauss Jr. infused the traditional form of the
waltz, which originated from Austrian and Czech folk music, with the most
graceful melodies and finely balanced rhythm sections. In all Strauss
produced over 450 works, most of which were waltzes. Interestingly enough,
the Strauss name became synonomous with the hedonism of the Austria-Hungarian
high society at the peak of its empire.
In the late 1850s, Strauss Jr. began what would be 30
years of exhaustive touring across Europe playing his most famous waltzes,
polkas, and quadrilles. In 1972, he even made his way a cross the Atlantic
to the U.S. where he was received with great acclaimed. Music critic Gammond
has pointe out that the Strausses had no rival to their waltz thron, neither
during their dominance of the genre in the 1800s or after their death.