The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, April 26, 2018


'The Blue Danube' keeps waltzing at 150
A visitor looks at scores of the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss and other exhibits during the opening of the exhibition "Donau, so blau" at the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus in Vienna on December 6, 2016. The exhibition is dedicated to 150th anniversary of the famous waltz "The Blue Danube" which was played for the first time on February 15, 1867 in Vienna. VLADIMIR SIMICEK / AFP.

by Sophie Makris


VIENNA.- Born out of defeat, initially not that popular and dedicated to a river that's more greeny-grey, the beginnings of "The Blue Danube" 150 years ago this week were inauspicious.

But Johann Strauss Junior's rousing waltz, first performed on February 15, 1867, is now one of the world's most famous and catchiest pieces of classical music.

It features in movies galore and is being performed and danced to still.

"An der schoenen blauen Donau", as it is known in the original German, began life as a choral work commissioned by the Vienna Men's Choral Society.

The main aim was to cheer people up after Austria had lost an important and bloody battle against Prussia, at Koniggratz, the previous summer.

The title was said to have been inspired by a poem but the words were penned by the society's own lyricist, a policeman who humorously bemoaned the state of the defeated country.

It was not an immediate runaway success, although an exhibition marking the anniversary at Vienna City Hall seeks to refute the belief that it was a total flop.

One glowing contemporary account even calls it a "schlager" (German for "hit") -- supposedly the first recorded use of the term.

But the piece only really took off once an orchestral version was performed in Paris later in 1867, to a rapturous reception, and soon afterwards in London.

In a tour of the United States in 1872, Strauss conducted a performance by a 2,000-piece orchestra and a 20,000-strong choir to 100,000 people.

"How am I supposed to conduct this mess?" the composer reputedly said.

The rest is history
Today "The Blue Danube" evokes like no other waltz the elegance of Vienna's 19th-century heyday -- which lives on in the city's ball season, currently in full swing.

It also takes pride of place in the Vienna New Year's Concert every January 1, and is Austria's unofficial national anthem.

When Austria declared its independence from Nazi Germany in April 1945, it was "The Blue Danube" that was performed since at the time the country had no official national anthem of its own.

The national airline Austrian Airlines plays the music to passengers before takeoff and after landing. A survey in 2016 of customers found 72 percent in favour of the practice continuing.

It is also a perennial favourite on the silver screen, most famously in Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey" but also in "Cool Runnings" and "Titanic", to name but a few.

More irreverently, a sketch by British comedy troupe Monty Python showed members of an orchestra exploding one by one as they played the piece in a field.

It has also featured in madcap animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants" while in "The Simpsons", Homer, in homage to Kubrick, floats around a spaceship eating potato chips.

But apart from it simply being a nice tune, how to explain the popularity, particularly considering that Strauss wrote almost 500 other waltzes?

"There is no definitive answer," Thomas Aigner, curator at the City Hall exhibition, told AFP.

"It's a patriotic song, but not too much. Everyone can project their own memory linked to the river, to a visit to Vienna."


© Agence France-Presse





Today's News

February 16, 2017

Exhibition looks at the representation of spatial concepts in drawing and printmaking

Long-dead reptile gave live birth, study says

In search of lost Proust: Film may show revered author

Guggenheim Foundation appoints Nancy Spector to new post of Artistic Director and Chief Curator

The £9 million wristwatch: It's a man's world when it comes to watches say Barnebys

Exhibition features early works, objects, and documentation of Jean-Michel Basquiat's formative years

Exhibition at Sotheby's S/2 features 9 women spanning 4 continents and over 100 years of creativity

Exhibition of assemblages and collages by Louise Nevelson opens at Cortesi Gallery, Lugano

'The Blue Danube' keeps waltzing at 150

Pallant House Gallery opens the first major exhibition in the Sidney Nolan Centenary 2017

The Holburne Museum opens first exhibition devoted to the Bruegel dynasty

Blain/Southern announces its representation of Jake & Dinos Chapman

Artist Isaac Julien appointed Art Fund trustee

Cultural Traffic counterculture fair comes to Firstsite

Exhibition reflects upon how artists have engaged with the complex notion of collective memory

Lehmann Maupin opens first solo presentation of Kim Guiline's work in the United States

Enter the dragon: rural Chinese honour mythical beast

Louisiana Museum of Modern Art opens exxhibition of works by William Kentridge

Art dealer Paul Kasmin joins Invaluable's advisory board

Exhibition of works by Catalan artist Antoni Tapies opens at Timothy Taylor

Outstanding Galle, Daum Nancy, Weller, Roseville pieces offered at Woody Auction

Debra Simon joins Times Square Alliance as new Director of Public Art

Ayyam Gallery opens a collective exhibition that highlights contemporary painters from the Middle East

Exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary focuses on a pivotal decade for British culture and politics

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Boy and an amateur archaeologist unearth legendary Danish king's trove in Germany

2.- Exhibition at The Met illustrates what visitors encountered at The palace of Versailles

3.- Philadelphia Museum of Art opens "Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950"

4.- Exhibition at Michael Hoppen Gallery presents a cross-section of works from Thomas Mailaender's career

5.- New York's Chelsea Hotel celebrity door auction raises $400,000

6.- Stevie Ray Vaughan's first guitar drives Entertainment & Music Memorabilia Auction to nearly $2.9 million

7.- Lichtenstein's Nude with Blue Hair tops $2.4 million sale of Modern & Contemporary Prints & Multiples

8.- $6.7 million Fancy Intense Blue Diamond sets auction record at Sotheby's New York

9.- Mexico court blocks sales of controversial Frida Kahlo Barbie doll

10.- Dutch museums to conduct new research on the paintings of Pieter de Hooch



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez


Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org avemariasound.org juncodelavega.com facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful