The Strauss Dynasty (1991)

 

 

 

Director:

Starring:     Anthony Higgins (Johann Strauß sen.), Stephen McGann ( Johann 'Schani' Strauß jun.), John Gielgud ( Drechsler), Edward Fox (Metternich), Alice Krige (Olga), John Rhys-Davies (Gribov), Cherie Lunghi (Jetti), Lisa Harrow (Anna), Anton Lesser (Levi), David Yelland (Lanner), Duncan Bell (Pepi), Adrian Lukis ( Edi), Vernon Dobtcheff ( Hirsch), Ronald Lacey (Bauer), Geoffrey Whitehead ( Halmi), Jane Arden (Karoline), Paris Jefferson (Eva), Julia Stemberger ( Emmi), Sophie Ward (Kathi), Emma Harbour (Lili), Emily Richard ( Adele), Krista Stadler (Olga's Mother).

TV mini-series

the family life and careers of musicians Johann Strauss and his son, Johan Strauss (the King of the Waltz, who died in 1899)

 

 

Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire series. 

 

Part I.  Johann Strauss I. 

 

Episode 1.  Anna.

 

Johann Strauss I is feeling very badly. 

Flashback.  Johann is in bed with a young woman named Anna.  His roommate Lanner comes in.  Lanner is the orchestra conductor of a successful orchestra, while Joe is deputy orchestra conductor.    Johann tells Anna that he forgot that he had a job to do tonight.  Anna gets dressed.  She exchanges small talk with Joseph and then leaves.  Lanner tells his roommate that he should tell Anna what his occupation is for the young lady is bound to find out sooner or later.  Strauss prefers later. 

Back to the present.  Johann looking terrible thinks about the past.

Flashback.  Lanner plays the violin and conducts the orchestra.  Anna comes with her parents to Dommayer's place.  Johann sees Anna in the audience and tries to hide his face.  When Anna sees that the conductor is Lanner, she is taken aback.  When the musical number ends, Anna spots Johann.  She is even taken more aback now. 

Anna's father is shocked and mad when he finds out.  He says to Johann:  "A musician!  A fiddle player!  You came to our house.  You lied to us."  Strauss says that they wouldn't have let him come to their house if they knew he was a musician.  And he was going to tell Anna sometime later.  Johann seems ready to resign himself  to not being in the family, but father tells him not to be too hasty.  And now Anna tells Strauss that she is pregnant.  So dad says that Johann should stop being a musician and come work for him.  He brings up the idea of marriage and Johann says if that is what Anna wants, then they shall marry and he will quit the music scene. 

Johann continues playing music while Anna is now very pregnant.  She doesn't care for the late hours of musicians.  Joseph comes to see Johann at home but Anna has to tell him that even though it's 3 a.m. Johann is still not home.  She also suggests that Johann might be with some other woman in bed.  Lanner feels compassion for her situation, but there's little he can do about it. 

Joseph goes home and finds Johann there laying on his bed.  He asks Johann if he has no feeling for Anna's condition.  He then adds:  "You expect the whole world to revolve around your satisfaction."  Lanner says he works at night  sitting at the table writing new works of music so the band can stay fresh.  Joseph finally tells Johann just to go home to his wife.  Johann responds to all this by saying that Lanner thinks he's "too good" for this earth.   He adds:  "Any fool can work!"   And yet Johann sits down at the table and writes out musicial cnotes on an empty music sheet:  Johann Strauss Opus 1.

And poor Anna lays in bed still awake.  She gives birth to her child without Johann being there for her. 

Back to the present.  Anna comes in to look in on her husband in bed.  She asks him how he feels, but he doesn't answer.  Anna calls for her first born, named Schani, and asks him to keep the children quiet for the sake of their father. 

Flashback.  Johann is feeling better and is finishing up a musical composition.  He asks Anna to come with him to his work where he can show her first hand how he takes a sheet of music he wrote and turns it into solid enjoyment for the audience.  Anna says she has to visit Lanner who is sick in bed.  He relents and lets her go to see Lanner.

At work Johann hands out his sheets of his own music to the musicians.   This surprises them.  It sounds like Johann will be a tough orchestra leader.  Meanwhile, Lanner visits with Anna as she takes care of him.  Johann tells the audience that the Johann Strauss orchestra will be playing music by Johann Straus.  This alarms the owner Dommayer, who decides he must inform Lanner that Johann seems to be taking over the show from Lanner. 

Dommayer comes to see Lanner and finds Anna there.  He tells Lanner that he must come at once.  In his night clothes and wearing an open robe, Lanner comes into the dance place.  The orchestra stops playing when they see Joseph, who falls down on the steps while trying to get onto the raised orchestra platform.  Johann grabs the man by the collar and pushes him away saying:  "You're ill.  Go home."  Lanner forces his way up onto the platform and pushes Johann off it.  And now Johann grabs Lanner and throws him off the platform.  Now the two of them start fighting.  Men jump in to separate the two orchestra leaders. 

Back to the present.  Anna patiently sits by her ill husband and knits. 

Flashback.  Strauss argues with Dommayer telling the owner that the two of them have no contract.  The owner says together for eight years, they both have become well-off.  What more does Strauss want?  He wants the Sperl-Ballroom, but Lanner is the one who has that dance place.  Dommayer says that Lanner has the prestige, but it's the Strauss music that everyone wants to hear.  Strauss says he wants to go on musical tour and that Dommayer can find someone else.  Dommayer doubts that he can find another Strauss, because a talent like Strauss only comes along once in a lifetime. 

Anna is exasperated with her husband.  She is also concerned that her husband blames her for telling Lanner about Johann trying to take over his job.  She says it was not her who told Lanner.  Anna adds that the row actually made Strauss more widely-known.  Johann responds, yes, well-known as a strange character by all.  The two men now have rival orchestras and they hate each other.  Johann says the audience comes to see him only because they're interested in the scandal. 

Johann is determined to go on tour.  He promises to send Anna money while he is on tour.  Anna tells her husband that she is pregnant again.  She feels bad because her husband cares more about his music than about her and the children. 

It's Christmas time.  Anna reads her five children the letter she received from father.  He just finished touring in Budapest and is now in Berlin.  The orchestra played for King Frederick William himself.  Their next stop will be Prague.  Dad apologizes again for not having any money for the family, but he says the orchestra has demanded that they stay in first-class hotels. 

Another letter from dad indicates that they have stayed in the finest hotels in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Hamburg and everywhere else.  He then went to London, England for the coronation of Victoria.  And back home Anna and the children are just barely scraping by.

There's a knock at the door.  It's two orchestra members bringing a very sick Johann home from England.   He has a fever and is delirious.  They drag him into his bed.

Back to the present.   Johann is finally feeling better.  He sits in a rocking chair in his room just thinking.  Anna plays the guitar while the kids starts dancing around the living room.  Johann rushes into the room shouting:  "Stop playing that damn thing!"  It's been six months since Johann has been working.  He says that all his orchestra members have abandoned him.  Anna says that Johann drove them and himself too hard.  He keeps complaining, even when Anna says the orchestra members would come back to him if he would only ask them. Johann says he will ask nothing of his former orchestra members. 

Anna tells her husband that he has to go back to work because there is not money.  Self-centered Johann says that she had all the money there was.  Anna gets frustrated with him, until he excuses himself to go takr his daily stroll.  "One must walk." 

Johann goes to Dommayer's and looks around.  A man sweeping up asks him who is he?  Johann says:  "Nobody."

He goes home and finds that one of his orchestra members is in secret teaching Schani how to play the violin.  Johann goes berserk and smashes the boy's violin.  Schani is very upset and scolds his father saying "just because you don't want to play" don't rain on his parade.  He rushes out of the room and goes past his mother.  She can see he's so upset and without his violin.  She rushes down to find her husband who tells her it's for the best.  He doesn't want his boys to have to face the hardships of a musician's life.  He feels he was betrayed by his fellow musicians and doesn't want his boys facing the same pain. 

At the request of Anna, Lanner comes to see Johann.  He offers Johann a shot at playing his own music before a large crowd.  Johann is too bitter and too proud to accept any help from Lanner.  Lanner has to leave because he is just making Johann madder and madder.  Once Lanner is gone, Johann starts going after Anna.  She admits that she asked Lanner to give her husband another chance.  She also says she's sorry if he felt humiliated by the offer but she wants Johann to become a part of the family again and start working again. 

Alone Johann digs his old violin from a trunk.  He does take Lanner up on his offer.  While he is playing a young woman starts to dance around the band platform in the center of the dance floor.  Her name is Emile and Johann seems to be very taken with her. 

 

Episode 2.  Emilie.

Johann is leading his orchestra at Dommayer's place. 

At home Anna works as hard as ever to care for her five children.  Schani gets up and sees that his father has put his muddy shoes on top of a big album of his musical compositions.  He is disgusted with his father.  He complains to his mother, but she warns him not to make a noise for fear that father will be awakened.  At the breakfast table Josef asks his mother if Karoline might come over for dinner tonight.  The other kids start laughing at the thought that Josef has a girlfriend.  The four younger children go to school. 

Schani talks with his mother.  Tonight the family will be going to see their father lead the orchestra.  Schani is not all that thrilled about the idea.  When father comes to the table Schani lets him know that he didn't appreciate dad putting his muddy shoes on top of his work.  Dad does apologize, but Schani is just still disgusted at his father. He leaves.  Mother and father talk about the typhus epidemic that is running wild.   They also talk about Schani giving some money to his mother (while dad never seems to have any money). 

Schani works at a bank doing accounting.  He really hates the job.  Schani wants to get out for lunch on time, but the boss is mad at him for miscalculating some figures.  The boss tells Schani that before he can get off work, he will have to do over the figures until he gets the correct amounts.  Schani gets his colleague to redo the figures for him, while he finishes a musical composition. 

Anna is going to a funeral and Johann is supposed to go, but he really wants to skip it.  Anna gets frustrated with his attitude. 

The bank colleague finishes the redo and Strauss can now leave.

Anna and the four children eat together at lunch.  Dad walks in and asks why Schani is not here.  Schani is busy at the bank.  Dad reminds the family of being on time for the concert.  He leaves.  Edir complains to mother that dad just loves to parade his family out to show them to the public one night each year.  He says it's no thrill for the kids. 

Schani goes to his appointment with a composer who writes very good church music.  He plays his composition for the composer.  The composer likes the music and will take Schani as a student. 

Johann shows up to the funeral.  There he sees Lanner in the crowd.  The man sits with Johann for awhile and the two rivals talk about the deceased musician. 

Emilie comes into the bank and Schani waits on her.  She says her name is Strauss, which takes Johann aback.  She clarifies the name by saying her husband is Johann Strauss and she is Mrs. Strauss.  (She and Johann, however, are not married.)

Johann gets ready to leave for the musical performance. 

As soon as Emilie leaves the bank, Schani starts looking up her address. 

Johann arrives to a hearty applause.  Schani goes to the address given to him by Emilie.  The little boy Joe comes to the door.  Schani hides around the side of the door.  Now he is even more crushed that his father has a boy named Joe.  He goes back home.  Mother immediately senses that something is wrong. 

Dad comes home at night.  He takes off his shoes, but this time he places them on the dhair seatr.  He goes into his bedroom.  Anna is still awake waiting for him.  She tells her husband that Emilie went to the bank today and Schani waited on her.  Emilie calls herself Mrs. Strauss.  Hubby only says:  "That was stupid of her."  Anna tells her husband that she knew about this the whole time.  She explains it was one thing to have rumors spreading around, but now the children and everyone else will know about the scandal.  Now the children will know why people laugh at the family.   He tries to switch the topic to Lanner without success.  Then he tries to kiss Anna, but she says no, no and pulls away from her husband. 

Dad leaves the bedroom, but now he faces off with Schani.  He leaves the apartment.  Anna calls out for him, but Johann is gone. 

Johann lays with Emilie in bed.  They kiss. 

The next morning Anna tells Schani to get up and go to work at the bank, but he tells her that he already told her that he's not going back there.  He tells mother not to worry because he can always make money through his musical abilities. 

Lanner has died.  Hirsch comes to see Johann at Emilie's apartment that is nicer than the Strauss apartment.  He wants Johann to come to work for him at Sperl.  Johann says he has no contract with Dommayer.  Emilie comes with coffee and is surprised to see Hirsch.  The promoter says that the only thing that is needed is for Strauss to show some outward sign of reconciliation with his first family.  He wants Johann to go alone to the chapel where his wife will be at Lanner's funeral.  Emilie tells Johann that she doesn't want him to go to the chapel at all.  So Johann does not go to the chapel.  Anna comments that she was sure Johann would show up. 

And now Johann tell Dommayer that it's all over between them.  Dommayer is very angry and angrier still after Johann says that Dommayer had a good run of six years with him and he got his money. 

Schani shows up at home.  He says Dommayer's place is closed as well as many other night places.  In other words there are no jobs at the moment for musicians.  Mother says that Schani will have to form his own orchestra.  And for that Schani will have to get a license.  In the meantime, Schani can compose music and perform church music.  Schani is unsure of himself and says he's too young to have his own orchestra.  Anna says father was younger when he did it.  Schani says that father won't let him get a license, but mother says that dad is not here to stop Schani. 

With mother along, Schani plays the violin for the church music teacher.  

Hirsch tells Johann that Schani has gotten a license to lead an orchestra.  This makes dad very angry.  Hirsch leaves and Johann tells Emilie about Anna:  "How could she?  Dear God, does she have any idea of what she's done? . . . God, how much she must hate me."

Now Anna and her son go speak with Dommayer.  They want to build a rival orchestra, but Dommayer says no.  He says that Johann Strauss I would be furious.  Dommayer says he will think about it, but Anna demands an answer now.

Johann plays for the people once again.  Hirsch comes to see Emilie in the dressing room.  He tells her that the people like Johann having a mistress, because "it appeals to their sense of sin".  But it's an entirely different matter, when the husband leaves the wife for the mistress.  He also tells Emilie that Schani has found work and he wants her to break the news to Johann.  He tells her that this is all Anna's doings.  She wants her husband back and "that wouldn't be good for either of us". 

Emilie goes down to the music and the dance.  She looks very sad.  She will tell Johann about Schani.

 

Episode  3. Schani.

Schani says he is nervous about the appointment coming up.  Mother reassures him.  A friend, Mr. Reichmann, comes in with a copy of the newspaper.  There is an article about a second Johann Strauss in the paper.  Schani is very pleased.

Emilie tells Hirsch not to show the article to Johann.  Johann comes in and Hirsch just throws the paper on the table for Johann to see it.  Strauss number I tells Hirsch to stop the performance. 

Schani and Anna accompanied by Reichmann go into a musician's bar.  Reichmann introduces Schani to the group, but the men say they are not interested.  Some say they wouldn't go against Mr. Strauss.  Another man says Strauss is too powerful. 

Strauss goes to see his children, but receives a very cold reception.  Edie, the youngest son, however, soon rushes over to his father.

Schani and Anna say the musical audition will start in thirty minutes.  They leave the bar.  After a short while, some of the men, one by one, start heading for the auditions. 

The two girls warn their mother that father is here in the apartment.  Anna goes into the living room and throws Edie out.  She asks her husband if he has brought her some money?  He gives her a small purse of coins.  He says he wants to offer their boy a job because they are increasing the size of the Sperl-Ballroom orchestra.  Anna says she doesn't believe him.  She also shows him a musical composition by Schani at the age of six.  So now Johann asks her what would she say if he says he wants the entire family back with him?  She doesn't believe that either. 

Schani practices with his orchestra.  A spy of sorts listens in on the rehearsal and then goes to Johann to tell him about the upcoming debut.  The spy wants money and Hirsch gives him a small purse of coins.  Johann says he will put on the biggest concert Sperl's has ever seen, but Hirsch says that will only force the larger audience to split between the two Strausses.  Hirsch assures Johann that he will make sure that Schani's debut will be an utter disaster.  He shall hire a klack (a group of dancers hired to cause trouble at a public performance).  Johann rejects the idea.  He tells Hirsch to get out.  Hirsch says there will be no performance by Schani.  Johann can have his big concert, but Hirsch will have a klack ready just in case. 

Emilie is upset when she learns that Johann has already spoken to Anna.  She screams the question:  did you offer to go back to her if she stopped?  Johann tells her not to talk rubbish.  He finally tells his mistress that Anna wouldn't have him back.  Emilie cries as she rushes to the bedroom and slams the door shut.  Johann goes in to console her.  At this moment the maid comes in with a letter.  Johann reads it and starts laughing.  He says:  "They've made me court music director."  Now both Johann and Emilie laugh heartily together.

Hirsch goes to see an accomplished actress, Senora Lucari.  The older woman is very irritated that Hirsch is in her dressing room.  Hirsch says that he wants to make use of her klack and she denies that she has a klack.  He says it's her klack that keeps her a star and the fact that she is reclusive and mysterious.  She agrees to send the klack to the opening of the son's first performance.

Emilie comes to see Anna.  Anna asks her why she came?  She came to find out if Johann really meant it when he offered to come back to Anna.  Anna sees she is very upset and is a bit surprised that Emilie actually loves Johann.  Mercifully she tells Emile no, Johann did not mean it.  So now Emilie returns the favor.  She warns Anna that Johann has been made the court music director and on the night of Schani's performance, Johann will be giving a huge celebratory music and dance performance. Everyone will be there.  This just makes Anna madder at Johann. 

At one side of the dance floor sits Schani's family.  As of now, there are very few people there.  Dommayer tells Schani not to worry because it's still early. 

Johann gets ready for the packed audience.  He asks Hirsch if he hired the klack?  Yes.  Lucari's gang.  He tells Hirsch to go to Dommayer's to see what's happening there.  Hirsch leaves.  Johann asks Emilie:  "Am I a monster?  Is it really for his sake?"  She just kisses him  and leaves.  The klack files into the place. 

Almost as soon as Schani starts playing, the klack starts banging on the tables and asking for a waiter.  Then a couple gets up and starts wildly dancing but not in tune with the music.  The klack starts laughing at Johann.  Schani loses his concentration, but the orchestra urges him on.  He starts playing again.   The klack starts making all kinds of noise until the conductor stops the orchestra.  He leaves to go to his dressing room.  His mother goes after him.  Dommayer also comes in and it's he who turns the momentum around by saying that they have to close before the klack starts wrecking the place.  Once Johann learns what a klack is, he becomes angry and goes back to the orchestra. 

The klack is surprised to see Schani again.  The orchestra starts up and the klack starts dancing wildly and making noise.  The music, however, goes on.  Lucari shows up at the klack to see what is happening.  Dommayer seats her at a table.  Lucari is surprised that Schani is playing his own compositions.  The liveliness of the music brings people waiting outside inside to have a look at what is going on.  Soon the dance floor is full of dancers and many others watch from the wing.  At the end of the musical number, the crowd claps for Schani.  Lucari now laughs at the idea of Johann Strauss I being eclipsed by his own son. 

Hirsch reports back to Johann saying that the klack was a success.  He says the boy does have talent, but who can really tell since no one really can hear the music for all the noise made by the klack.  So Johann now tells Hirsch to stop the klack.  He wants his son defeated, but not destroyed. 

Schani is now having a great night with lots of people at Dommayers.  Lucari stands up from her table saying to Dommayer that she thinks a new star has been born. 

Johann's big concert is now over.  He tells Emelie that tonight just doesn't feel like a triumph to him.  They go to take their carriage home.  Hirsch shows up at Dommayer's again and it's hard for him to believe the success of Schani.  On their way home, Johann's carriage can't get through the huge crowd at Dommayer's place. Hirsch comes over to the carriage to tell Johann and Emilie that Dommayer can't fit the crowd in and the audience won't let Schani stop playing his music.  Johann asks in disbelief:  "A success!?"  Yes.  Hirsch adds:  "Whether we like it or not, from now on, there are two Johann Strausses."  Johann starts laughing like a mad man. 

Anna is almost overcome with emotion at her son's fantastic success. 

 

Episode 4.  Revolution of 1848.

What an honor for Johann Strauss II.  Prince Metternich, the great Austrian  diplomat who established a balance of powers after the Napoleonic War, has come to Dommayer's ballroom.  The people clap for the man who sits down with his entourage of military officers.  Anna does not come out to see the great Metternich.  She is feeling underappreciated by her family. 

Over at Sperl's Ballroom Emilie tells Hirsch that she feels like dancing and would he like to take her dancing?  They start to leave the dressing room when a rock is tossed through a window by some revolutionaries supporting what came to be called the Revolution of 1848.  This startles both Emilie and Hirsch.

At Dommayer's the owner starts to close the shutters in his office.  He swears to Anna that he heard shots fired.  Anna dismisses the very idea.  He asks why the revolutionaries have to spoil the royal visitor, Metternich?  Just then Metternich receives a note and he has to leave Dommayer's. Dommayer himself packs up his money to get away from the coming trouble.   Josef runs into the office saying that the revolution has started!  Then he tells his mother that she must go home and be sure to lock all the doors and windows.  Josef himself says that he is going to join the revolutionaries.  Schani starts playing a revolutionary themed piece of music. At home with Schani and his sisters, mother notes that there's another building in Vienna on fire.  It's been four days of being cooped up at home and Schani says he thinks he shall go mad.  Mother starts advising him and he tells her to stop trying to run his whole live.  Mother starts to cry and Schani quickly apologizes to her.  She says she's scared because Josef is out there.  She runs out of the house in search of Josef. 

Edie is over at his father's place.  Dad is not worried about the revolutionaries, but Emilie is very definitely afraid.  Emilie wants to leave, but not dad, who says why would the revolutionaries harm them?  They have no reason to. 

Karoline and her mother come to stay at Anna's place.  Caroline wonders if Josef is still alive. 

Anna asks the revolutionaries if they have her son?  They let her look around the building.

Hirsch pays a a visit to Johann.  He says that both Shani and Josef are in trouble with the emperor.  Hirsch says that Johann most prove he's on the side of the monarchy.  Emilie says that Johann was just working on a march.  Emilie grabs the march and hands it over to Hirsch.  He asks Johann to play it for him. 

Anna arrives home and tells everyone that they must leave now.  Imperial soldiers are in the next street.  Everyone leaves. 

Imperial forces arrive at Johann's place.  The officer in charge learns from Hirsch that the man playing at the piano is Johann Strauss the court musical director and he just wrote a march for the Austrian army.  The officer says he danced to Johann's music many times at Sperl.  He then advises them to get out because it is not safe here.  He also asks to take the march.  He notices there is no title on the march and Johann tells the officer that they can name it whatever they want to.  Emilie quickly decides that they are leaving with the officer.  Johann agrees. 

Anna and the family have sought shelter in a hospital convent.  Johann and Emilie are riding away in a carriage.  The revolutionaries arrive at the apartment of Johann Strauss and start destroying everything inside.  They even tear up some of the musical compositions.   The family finds Joseph in the convent.  He is badly injured, but will live. 

Metternich has sought asylum in England.  He goes to see Johann Strauss saying he has longed to see someone from Vienna.  Metternich tells the musician that they say the Imperial forces have won and Vienna is quiet again.  Johann says that they named the march he composed in honor of Imperial Austrian Gen. Joseph Radetsky.  The work is known as the Radetsky March.  Because of that association, on his musical tours, Johann met the ire of the liberal forces in Berlin and Paris.  Metternich urges Johann to go back to Vienna.  He says he cannot go back, but Johann can return to Vienna.

Schani and Anna check out the wreckage that now prevails at Dommayer's Ballroom.  Mother urges her son to take a job as a musician because the family desperately needs money for food.  She already has a job lined up for him at a coffee house. 

Johann and Emilie and their two children return home.  The apartment is a real mess. 

Schani plays the violin at the coffee house. 

Emilie starts breaking down and crying because of the terrible situation in which they find themselves.  She cries:  "Do something, Joe. Please, do something. I can't bear it, not anymore. Not being hungry, traveling and being hated.  Not any more."  Johann goes outside.  He goes over to the coffee house where his son works.  He looks inside, but does not go in.  He goes to Anna's house  They talk awhile.  She goes and gets some money for him for which Johann is grateful.  She then asks Johann:  "What was it all for?"  He replies:  "For?  It's like music. It wasn't for anything."

Johann tends to his boys who are suffering from scarlet fever.  And Johann is not feeling well either.  Emilie says she is frightened of catching the disease.  Hirsch comes to see the family.   Emilie tells him to go away before he catches the scarlet fever.   He goes to the bedroom to see Johann who is playing the violin for his eldest son.  The two men go outside in the hall to talk.  Hirsch says they have reopened the Sperl. 

A Mr. Schumburger comes to the coffee house to see Anna and Schani.  He tells Anna that they might want someone other than Johann at the Sperl this time.  Someone who is young and popular. Anna gets mad and leaves because she thinks the man is telling her that her husband is all washed-up now.   Schumburger gives his card to Schani and the two men sit down for a talk. 

Anna sends Edie over to see how father is.  Edie finds him sick in bed.  He runs to Emilie and asks her to help his father, but Emilie can only ask Edie to fetch his mother for she will know what to do. 

Edie returns home but mother is not there.  He goes to look for her.  Edie goes to the coffee house to get Schani.  Schani says he can't leave Mr. Schumburger now.  Edie begs him to please come and then rushes out to find his mother.

Johann starts acting hysterical and soon collapses to the floor.  Emilie doesn't know what to do.  She tells him not to lay like that on the floor.  Then she screams.

Anna and Edie arrive.  Schani is already there.  Father has died.  Edie cries. Anna tells Schani to see if Emilie is alright.  Schani can't find her and tells his mother Emilie is not here.  Emilie and the children are gone.  Anna asks the boys to pray for their father. 

Now Johann Strauss II plays at Sperle.

Anna puts flowers at the tomb of Johann Strauss (1804-1849). 

 

 

Part II.  Johann Strauss II.

 

Episode 5.  Josef.

Johann wants to be named the emperor's musical director.  A man who works for Johann asks why does he think the position is that important, for after all, the emperor himself is but a boy.  Johann says that without the position he has no standing.  "I'm just another band master licensed every year by the magistrates just like a peddler."

Josef is going to be an engineer and an architect.  Karoline has accepted his proposal of marriage.  Johann says they will have a big celebration of the event.  And the family does have a celebration. 

Mr. Reichmann finds out that the court does not consider Johann suitable to be musical director because he sympathized with the revolution.  Johann doesn't like to hear this and says that sympathy was from many years ago  After an outdoors concert Johann starts telling a group of military men that the area they are in is reserved for the band and they will have to go.  The men turn around and then Johann sees the young Emperor Franz Joseph I.   He says he really enjoys Johann's music, but they say Strauss is too radical.  In fact, it has been suggested that the Emperor have Strauss arrested.  The Emperor says he can't go against his advisors now, but one day he will be strong enough.  Then at that time the two of them can reconcile and Johann can become the court musical director.

Johann feels sick.  When he comes home he collapses in the door well.   The doctor says that Johann will have to take months off work for he is on the verge of nervous exhaustion.  "Next time you collapse, it may be total." 

Johann wants to speak with Josef.  He comes in and agrees that his big brother must get some rest.  Johann tells Josef that he must take over the orchestra or after six months of no leadership, the band will dissolve.  Josef says he can't do it.  But he does speak to Karoline about the matter.  She says it's not fair to ask Josef to step up and become the orchestra leader.  But on the other hand, Josef is excited at the prospect of leading an orchestra.  He comes over to Johann and tells him he will be the leader of the band. 

Edie is shocked that Josef is taking over for Johann at Dommeyer's place.  Edie asks mother:  "Why didn't he ask me?"   Mother says Edie is too young.  Edie says that they will laugh Josef off the stage. 

Johann is sent away for his health. 

On the night of Josef's debut, the family is there to support Josef.  Edie arrives with a girl named Rosa and he introduces her to his mother.  Josef taked the stage.  He starts conducting the orchestra.  He leads with a polka but starts too slowly.  But he speeds up enough and at the end gets a nice round of applause. 

The siblings have fun reading the letters written to Josef.  While they amuse themselves, Johann arrives home.  Edie likes to rub it in to Johann that brother Josef has done an outstanding job standing in for Johann.  Johann tells him that he has already heard about the successes of Josef. 

Johann and mother talk and Johann says he had time to think while away.  He wants to put less emphasis on his musical work than before.  Josef comes in to greet Johann.  He tells his brother that after the first few performance he came to like conducting an orchestra.  Johann says that's great and mom tells Josef that Johann is going to Russia.  In St. Petersburg Johann will be playing for the Tsar and Josef can stay here and carry on for awhile longer. 

In Russia Johann has fallen for a young woman named Olga. The problem is that her parents don't approve of the relationship and won't let Johann see Olga.   For awhile, Olga and Johann meet by her leaving letters for him in a secret part of the park.  They have to meet in secret.  And her father may have Johann being watched. 

Johann mentions marriage to Olga, but now her communications with him stop altogether.  So the talented composer goes to see Olga's mother.  She tells Johann that Olga told her about the relationship from the start.  And now she has left on a trip via the train.   Olga is very young and very romantic.  She was in love with the idea of being in a relationship with the famous Johann Strauss.  But when marriage was brought up, she came back to reality.  She left so as to avoid having to let Johann down hard. 

Johann leaves St. Petersburg and goes home to Vienna.  After telling his mother about Olga, mother says the girl would have ruined her Schani.  He's good to be rid of her. 

Johann meets Johannes Brahms.  His host says that the meeting was set up by Hetti who likes to bring like-minds together.  And now the host introduces Johann to other important people.  Hetti comes over and Johann is introduced to her.  Brahms, she says, is her prodigy.   And now she wants him to dance with her, even though Johann told her he cannot dance. 

 

Episode 6.   Hetti.

Johann leads the orchestra again.  Latter Hetti and Johann are in bed together.  In the morning Johann tells Hetti that he loves her.  Hetti says she has to be careful.  She has lived with Moritz for eight years and although she doesn't love him, she has grown to be fond of him.  And Moritz trusts Hetti to never do anything that would make the man feel foolish. 

Mother does not like Hetti for Schani.  She says the woman is just too old for him.  She is ten years older that Schani.

Someone stole the lanterns from the tomb of Johann Strauss.  The police found out it was Emilie.  The next day Schani goes to see her.  She lives in squalor and her children have all left her.  Emilie says she had the right to take the lantern from Johann's grave.  Schani buys the pawn ticket for the lanterns from Emilie.  And then he purchases his father's violin from her.  But when he tries to take the sheet music from her, she refuses to part with it.  Schani leaves the premises.  He goes to see Hetti.  He says he saw Emilie, who lives in squalor and looks older than her years, but still has passionate feelings of the memories of her Johann.  Schani wonders whether he and Hetti could be like that. 

Schani and Hetti get married and then they show up at Anna's place.  Anna just leaves the living room for her bedroom.  Later Schani brings Hetti into the room and tells his mother that she has not yet greeted his wife Hetti.  Anna says to Hetti:  "I welcome you because of my son."

Hetti and Schani throw a big party.  Anna stays at home rather than go to the party.  At the party Hetti tells her husband's publisher that from now on Johann will be paid royalties for the sale of his musical compositions.  The publisher does not like this new idea.  He goes to ask Anna to intervene for him. but Anna says it's no concern of hers anymore.  Hetti has replaced her. 

Hetti gets Johann Strauss II appointed to be the court musical director.   Josef tells his mother that Hetti did it by not allowing the sale of any of Johann's compositions before he was ready to release them.  The court wanted Johann's compositions, so they finally gave in and appointed Johann court musical director. 

Edie likes Hetti and spends a lot of time with her and Schani.  Hetti tells him that Josef's health is bad and there may be room for Edie to take his place as orchestra leader. 

Hetti asks Johann about letting Edie replace Josef.  Johann says Edie is in the diplomatic corps and he doesn't know much about music.  Hetti says Edie knows enough. 

Edie comes home yelling for his mother.  When he sees her he tells her the good news:  "I've got it!  I've got the orchestra!  Johann is giving up conducting.  Hetti has suggested that he share the orchestra with Josef. "  He says about Hetti:  "Oh, mother, she is marvelous."  Anna is not pleased to hear that. 

The family is all going to the concert where the three Strauss brothers will share leading the orchestra.  Anna says she will come to the ballroom in her own time.  She sits in her chair and dies. 

Hetti asks Johann why didn't they go to his mother's funeral?  "She was buried like a Queen."  Johann says:  "I don't want to hear."  Hetti says that she is going to get all the blame for their not being at the funeral.  Why?  Because she came between son and mother.  "When she felt she was no longer needed, she just gave up."  She asks why Johann is so cold to her now, if he doesn't blame her for his mother's death?  She cries and asks:  "Oh, be kind again, for pity's sake."  He says that in a few month's time, that nothing will have changed. 

Josef feels that death is coming ever closer to him.  He asks Edie that, if he dies, Edie will look after the music he wrote.  Edie thinks Josef is being morbid, but agrees to watch out for his brother's music.  Josef will be leading the orchestra in Warsaw, Poland now and the orchestra in Vienna will be all left to Edie. 

Hetti urges her husband to try to compose some new types of music.  She suggests that he write music for a play or a ballet.  Johann remains resistant to the ideas.  Hetti doesn't give up.  She has guests from the theater world come over to talk to Johann about writing tunes for the stage.  People like the producer Max Steiner and his girl friend Mari.

While Josef leads the orchestra, he starts feeling unsteady.  He writes home that he needs some replacements for the orchestra and Edie says he will send Josef some replacements. 

Johann and Hetti argue about the quality of his work and Johann accuses her of not liking anything he composes lately.  A note arrives from Warsaw.  Josef got dizzy and fell off the platform.  Karoline goes up to see Josef.   Johann takes over as conductor.  Karoline accompanies her husband back to Vienna via the train.  Josef dies. 

Edie tells Hetti and Johann that Prince Metternich has ordered them to perform for the Austrian-French Alliance.  "It's as good as an Imperial command."  Metternich is asking for the Emperor.  Hetti tells him to play the recent waltz he was working on. 

Hetti visits her husband during practice.  She goes in and sees that Johann is only looking and staring at the actress Marie Giest.  Hetti gets very upset and leaves the practice hall without saying anything to her husband. 

 

Episode 7. Lili.

Johann receives a medal from the Kaiser.   He also has an affair with producer Max Steiner's girl friend Marie. 

Hetti and Johann throw a party.  Max Steiner and Marie Giest are there.  The host and hostess talk about their trip to Boston where there was an enormous auditorium capable of holding 100,000 people. 

Johann goes over to Marie and almost immediately a suspicious Max and Hetti show up by the side of their loves ones.  Hetti tells Johann to go speak to Edie in the other room.  Edie is angry, as usual, because he does not like it that big brother is to lead the orchestra along with another conductor at the International Exhibition.  The Vienna orchestra is now Edie's baby, and he should be the conductor at the Exhibition.  Johann says that the president of the Exhibition himself asked him to lead the orchestra.  Edie feels that Johann should have turned down the offer.  Johann gets angry at Edie and asks what more does Edie want from him?  After all, he resigned as court musical director and Edie got the position.  Yes, says Edie, but then he heard that Johann was telling people that Edie only got the job because Johann was not available.  "Am I always to be second best?"  So Johann says he will turn down the president saying he is to busy to perform and suggest that Edie replace him.  Hetti comes in and asks if everything is okay.  Edie says yes and leaves. 

Hetti now asks Johann what did Edie want?  "Everything", says Johann.  Edie is his only brother left and he doesn't want to fight with him.  He says he's going to talk to Steiner tonight, but Hetti fears it's Marie that he wants to be with.  She asks him to stay home, but he insists he has to talk to Steiner about his new play. 

There's a financial panic in Vienna and most of the ballrooms are closing down.  So Johann offers a free concert at Dommayer's place.  An angry Hetti leaves the ballroom on the first dance.  After the performance Johann asks her why she left?  She says:  "I had no reason to stay."  He says that she is the most important person in his life, and yet he is going out again, much to the great disappointment of his wife. 

Johann works on the music for Steiner's new play.  Marie is to be the star of the play in which she sings.  Johann comments to Max:  "Isn't she perfect?"

Johann notices that Hetti is spending time with a young man.  He asks who is this person and Hetti nervously says it's just a young man who knows some of her relatives.  Johann says he doesn't like the look of the fellow.  Then Johann says he's going to see Steiner with some new music he has composed.  Hetti says and he will also be there with Marie.  The wife gets angry:  "You do everything you can to avoid me.  When did we last eat together?  When did you last hold me or kiss me or sleep in the same bed?  Oh, you kill me with politeness, and then run to your other woman."  Johann gets angry and says yes he does, because Marie is different from Hetti and younger by thirty years.  Hetti cries.

Marie tells Max that she has accepted an offer from Berlin.  Max is furious with her for accepting the offer.  He says she has changed and blames this on Johann.  Max warns her that Strauss will not leave his wife for her.  Marie says she doesn't want him to leave his wife.  They like being together.  Max tells her, so you don't need me anymore.  She says she doesn't need anybody now.  She has attained the position she wanted and will be independent. 

Johann goes into Marie's dressing room that is now empty.  It looks like someone trashed the place.  Max comes in to talk with Johann.  He asks if everything is okay with him and Hetti?  Johann says, of course.  Being a bit vengeful, Max mentions the young man in Hetti's life.  Johann says that's nothing and Max replies that that's good to know that the rumors about Hetti and the young man are not true. 

But when Johann comes home and sees the young man with his wife, he starts to create a bit of a scene.  He confronts the young man and tells him he is to stop seeing his wife.  It looks like a fight might begin between the men so Hetti stops it before things get out of hand.  The young man leaves but says they will hear from him again.   And now Hetti is forced to tell Johann that the young man is her son.  She has not seen her son since he was a child until he suddenly came to visit her.  She blames herself because she forgot him and never helped the boy.  Johann says that the son wants money and Hetti admits she has given him a little, but she feels she must give more because she has so much to make up to him.  Johann says he will get none of his money.  Hetti now says that her son wants to live here with them.  Johann has no compassion toward his wife and becomes irate at the very idea.  Hetti tells him not to ask her to send him away.  Hubby is only thinking about what other people might think about himself.  Hypocritically, he says she made him choose between her and Marie, so now Hetti has to choose between her husband and her son. 

Schani comes to visit his two sisters.  One of the sisters is very angry at Schani saying that he only comes to see them when he's in trouble.  She also tells Schani that it's not fair to hide from those who love or need him.  The other sister says that Schani has left Hetti for good, but the critical sister says he needs Hetti too much for him to leave her.  After all, Hetti takes care of everything for him.  He just needs a little more time. 

Johann shows up back home, but Edie's wife Maria takes him into another room to tell Johann that Hetti has had a stroke.  Johann asks if this is because of him.  Maria says only in part.  She received a very nasty blackmailing letter calling Hetti all kinds of bad names and saying that unless he gets money, he will go to the newspapers with all the sordid details of Hetti's earlier life.   She warns Johann that his wife can't speak.  Johann goes into apologize to Hetti and says that he loves her and has never loved anyone really, but her.  He touches one of her hands and realizes that his wife is dead. 

Johann goes out drinking with two young male acquaintances.  One of the men decides to cheer Strauss up by bringing over two young females.  The brunette is Tina and the strawberry blonde is Lili.  They both are actresses.  Lili sits down by Johann.  Johann comments on how beautiful Lili is. 

The family, all dressed in black  is mad at Johann.  He didn't even go to Hetti's funeral. They gather together at the request of Johann.  He arrives with Lili and a great many purchases.  Edie demands to know what's going on.  The friend that introduced Lili and Johann now presents to the family, Mr. and Mrs. Johann Strauss.  The family is stunned.  Virtually all his friends are also stunned. 

Together the couple are very playful with each other.  Strauss comes in to tell Lili that the play that he had that was a flop in Vienna was a success in Berlin and Paris and now Steiner is going to put on the play again here in Vienna.   Lili asks if that means they will have more money to spend?  Yes.  She's tickled to death.  Lili says she wants to travel to Paris, France, Italy.  Johann says he can't.  He has too much work to do here.  She pouts and says:  "I mean what's the point of being rich, if you can't enjoy yourself."

Lili is absolutely bored with Johann always having to work and her having nothing to do.  She wants to see her friends.  Lili and Johann go out dancing at Sperl.  At the end of a dance,  Johann almost collapses.  A little later Lili wants another dance but Johann says it's time to go home.   Lili says she doesn't want to go home.  The couple they are with tells Johann that they can bring Lili home later.  So Johann goes home by himself. 

Lili gets home very late.  She and Edie and the dance couple are all laughing up a storm.  Johann says he was expecting Lili long before this late hour.  Edie intervenes saying he asked her to stay longer.  He was introducing a new composition and there were several encores. 

Johann has invited Max over for a talk.  Steiner tells him that the last two plays were a little disappointing.  Johann, however, wants to talk about Lili.  He asks Max if he can find her a part in a play?  Max says Lili just does not have the right voice to be in one of his plays.  Nevertheless, he says he will get a voice teacher for Lili and maybe then her voice will improve enough to sing in one of his plays.  Johann is grateful for that. 

Lili comes home late again with two men and one lady.  Johannn roars out with:  "Do you know what time it is?"  He says it's after three in the morning.  The young friends leave the apartment.  She insults Johann and then curiously asks, don't you want to hit me? 

Lili continues her wanton ways and her insults directed at Johann.  She seems to be growing very fond of Steiner.  Meanwhile, Johann stays at home worrying about Lili. 

One night Johann comes over to his sisters' place  to ask if they have seen Lili?  No.  They introduce Johann to a woman named Adele, but Johann pays her no mind.  He is off to find Lili.  He finds Edie with another woman than his wife and jumps to the conclusion that it is Lili.  He jumps at the couple, but then realizes his mistake.  Edie sends the woman out of the room.    He now tells Johann that the whole city already knows that Lili has left Johann and gone off with Max Steiner.  "He has waited years to pay you back for Marie Giest."  Edie is absolutely shocked that Johann knew none of this.  Crushed, Johann turns and walks out of the room.  Johann goes home and stares at Hetti's portrait. 

 

 

Episode 8.  Adele. 

Johann waits for Edie in his dressing room.  Edie arrives and is surprised to see Johann because it's been a while now.  Edie tells his brother that Max Steiner threw Lili out.  And now Lili says she's willing to come back to Johann.  Johann says they are better off without each other.  But that's not what he came for.  Karoline has been telling people that Johann stole Josef's music.  Every new piece of music, Karoline declares as being Josef's.  And Johann has heard that Edie agreed with her.   Edie says he just told Karoline that in the early days the Strausses wrote some music together and so who knows who really wrote it?  Johann becomes furious and says:  "We know what we wrote together!  I would never put my name on someone else's work. "  He points out the damage this could do to his reputation or maybe Edie wanted to damage big brother's reputation. "You resented me since you were a child.  Anything that could make people think less of me has pleased you."  That nasty Edie says that Johann is completely out of date.  It's he, and not Johann, that the people come to see and hear. 

The two brother are interrupted when two men come to talk with Edie.  It's now that Johann learns that Max was dismissed from his job, because Johann Strauss has too many good friends to tolerate the man's shenanigans.  Edie has to leave to begin the concert/dance.  After Edie is gone, the two men tell Johann that it is actually he, and not Edie, that they came to see.  They came to ask Johann to compose music for a play they have in mind.  They will meet at a later date to discuss the details.

Johann meets Adele at a table in the park.  Adele introduces Johann to her little daughter Alice.  The meeting is a short one, but Johann does walk her home.  He then visits with his two sisters, who are dubious about his new affair with Adele.  They remind him that he is still a married man.  The sisters know quite a lot about Adele and Johann.  They have been talking to her.  And Maria, Edie's wife, wants to know what are Johann's intentions towards Adele?  Johann becomes furious that his sisterd have been interfering in his life.  The sisters do not they think they are interfering for they too want to know Johann's intentions.  Adele has recently been widowed and any affection will touch her, but where can it lead?  Nowhere.

Johann talks with Adele.  He apologizes for his sisters' interference.  Adele, however, wants to say something serious to Johann. She says his sisters say that what she feels for Johann is only friendship and gratitude, but they are very wrong.  She was afraid of Johann's reputation with women, but she soon found out that Johann is gentle and kind.  And just as lonely as she.  Johann tells Adele that he loves her.  She lets him know that she has waited for him to say that for such a long time. 

Edie comes barging into see his brother complaining that all the gossips are busy talking about Johann.  The latest they are laughing about is that the old musician is in love with a 24 year old Jewess.  Edie is actually mostly worried that the scandal will hurt his own career.  Johann responds that he is thinking of marrying Adele and now Edie better leave.  Edie agrees saying that there's no use in trying to talk to a mad man. 

Catholics can't divorce and remarry.  So Johann moves to Germany, a largely Protestant nation, becomes a Protestant and marries Adele in a civil ceremony.  The newly weds stay in a hotel and johann hires a band to play his music at breakfast time for his new bride.  That pleases Adele.  She teases him about his beard so Johann shaves it off except for the mustache.  Adele likes the younger look.  And now Adele says they must go back to Vienna. 

Edie and Maria are still mad at Johann.  Maria says that Edie was almost dismissed because of the scandal his brother created.

Adele and Johann give a party.  They don't get as many guests as they expected, but it is still a respectable turnout.

Johann leads an orchestra again for a play.  Adele says that she has never seen him so nervous before.  That's why he only conducts the overture.  And the poor man receives no applause.  Johann says it's because they still have not forgiven him because of his scandals.  He stays in his dressing room rather than watch the play.  Both Johann and Adele together are sure the play was a flop.  But to their great surprise, the audience loves the play and wants Johann to come out and take a bow.  They are calling for him.  Johann goes out and bows to the audience. 

Alice is a young woman now.  Her mother tells her to fetch her father for tea is ready.  She doesn't want to disturb father as composer Brahms is playing the piano for him.  Mother says as soon as the music stops, get in there and get the two men to come out. 

Johann's phone is ringing.  He asks Adele to answer it because he can't stand the new contraption.  Adele answers the phone and then tells Johann that he is wanted down at Dommayer's ballroom right now.  When he objects, she tells him it's most urgent.  So the two of them go to Dommayer's place.  When they enter Johann discovers that it's a surprise party for him.  There are lots of people there along with the orchestra.  Johann goes up onto the music platform and begins leading the orchestra. 

Johann learns that he is wanted as conductor for another gala affair.  Johann tells his friends that he doesn't want to go to still another tribute concert for Johann Strauss.  One of his friends, however, explains that this concert will be in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph.  The Emperor may or may not attend, but they want to put Johann's name on the program.  So Johann goes to the tribute concert and leads the orchestra.  His Highness puts in an appearance at the concert.  He sits and listens to the concert. 

Later Johann speaks with the Emperor alone.  The Emperor restores Johann's honors to him.  The two men shake hands and the Emperor says he has a place near to Johann's villa.  He asks Johann if he still plays billiards?  Yes.  He says to Johann:  "Call on me sometime."

Edie comes back from England a ruined man.  His wife gambled on the stock market and lost everything he had.  And his son wants to start his own orchestra.  He says he came to see his brother because he is the only one he can really talk to.  Edie said he would never go back, but now he will go back on tour in America because he needs the money. 

Adele tells her husband to go upstairs and lay down.  He says he wants to do some more work on his composition.  She tells him to go upstairs and change first.  After awhile Adele goes to check on him.  She hears something being knocked over.  She finds Johann on the floor. 

Johann has pneumonia.  He tells Adele that he doesn't want to leave her and she says he won't.  She tells him to try and sleep.  He closes his eyes and dies.  Adele starts crying. 

At Sperl the sisters realize that news has arrived of the death of the great composer, their brother, Johann Strauss II. 

 

 

 

 

 


1711-1740  -- reign of Charles III. 

 

Johann Strauss I had a Jewish grandfather, Johann Michael Strauss (1720–1800), who converted to Catholicism.

 


1740-1780  --  reign of Maria Theresa.

 

 


1765-1790  --   reign of Joseph II, first of the monarchs of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine


 

Strauss's parents, Franz Borgias Strauss (October 10, 1764 – April 5, 1816) and Barbara Dollmann (December 3, 1770 – August 28, 1811), were innkeepers (Zum heiligen Florian).

 


1790-1792  --  reign of Leopold VII. 

 

 

 



1792–11 August 1804  -- reign of Francis II.

 

1800  --  death of Johann Michael Strauss (Johann Strauss I's grandfather. 

1803-1815  --  Napoleonic Wars.

 


1804-1835  --  reign of Francis I (former Francis II).  .  First of the Emperors of Austria. 


 

1804 (March 14)  --  in Leopoldstadt, Vienna, birth of Johann Strauss I who became an Austrian Romantic composer famous for his waltzes, and for popularizing them alongside Joseph Lanner, thereby setting the foundations for his sons to carry on his musical dynasty. His most famous piece is probably the Radetzky March (named after Joseph Radetzky von Radetz), while his most famous waltz is probably the Lorelei Rheinklänge, Op. 154  He was the father of Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss, the last of whom had a son called Johann Strauss III. He also had two daughters, Anna and Therese. 

1811  --  death of his mother by 'creeping fever' when he was seven.

1815  --  last of the Napoleonic Wars. 

1815  --  the end of the Vienna Convention, a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Austrian statesman Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire.   Metternich applies the principle of the Balance of Power between nations to keep the peace.  In the Age of Metternich the Congress System after the Congress of Vienna, was the balance of power that existed in Europe from the end of the Napoleonic Wars (1815) to the outbreak of World War I (1914), albeit with major alterations after the revolutions of 1848.

1815-1848  --  the Austrian Empire entered a period of censorship and a police state in the period between 1815 and 1848 (Biedermaier or Vormärz period).  Metternich kept a firm hand on government resisting the constitutional freedoms demanded by the liberals.

1816  --  death of Franz Borgias Strauss, Johann Strauss I.  At age 12, his father drowned, possibly by suicide, in the Danube river. His guardian, the tailor Anton Müller, placed him as an apprentice to a bookbinder Johann Lichtscheidl; Strauss took lessons in the violin and viola in addition to fulfilling his apprenticeship.  He also studied music with Johann Polischansky during his apprenticeship and eventually managed to secure a place in a local orchestra of Michael Pamer which he eventually left in order to join a popular string quartet known as the Lanner Quartet formed by his would-be rival Joseph Lanner and the Drahanek brothers, Karl and Johann.

1822  --  he successfully completed his bookbinder apprenticeship.

1824  --  this string quartet playing Viennese waltzes and rustic German dances expanded into a small string orchestra in 1824. He eventually became deputy conductor of the orchestra to assist Lanner in commissions after it became so popular during the Fasching of 1824 and Strauss was soon placed in command of a second smaller orchestra which was formed as a result of the success of the parent orchestra.

1825  --  he decided to form his own band and began to write music (chiefly, dance music) for it to play after he realized that he could also possibly emulate the success of Lanner in addition to putting an end to his financial struggles. By so doing, he would have made Lanner a serious rival although the rivalry did not entail hostile consequences as the musical competition was very productive for the development of the waltz as well as other dance music in Vienna. He soon became one of the best-known and well loved dance composers in Vienna, and he toured with his band to Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and Britain. The conducting reins and management of this 'Strauss Orchestra' would eventually be passed over to the hands of his sons variously until its disbandment by Eduard Strauss in 1901.

1825  --  Strauss married Maria Anna Streim in the parish church of Liechtenthal in Vienna. The marriage was relatively unhappy due to his prolonged absences caused by frequent tours abroad which led to a gradual alienation.  The family home was called 'Hirschenhaus' but was better known in Vienna as the 'Goldener Hirsch' (The Golden Stag). Strauss was a strict disciplinarian and demanded that none of his sons pursue careers in music, despite them displaying musical talent. Johann Junior was to study banking, likewise his brother Josef Strauss was destined for a military career, whereas the youngest Eduard Strauss was expected to join the Austrian consulate.

1825  --  birth of Johann Strauss II

1829  --   Anna is born.

1831  --  Therese is born.

By 1834  --  Strauss had taken a mistress, Emilie Trampusch, with whom he had six children.

1834  --  Ferdinand, is born but lives only ten months.


1835-1848  --  reign of Ferdinand I.

1837  --  on a trip to France, Johann I heard the quadrille and began to compose them himself.  It was this trip which proves Strauss' popularity with audiences from different social backgrounds and this paved the way to forming an ambitious plan.

1838  --  he performs his music in England for the coronation of Queen Victoria. Strauss also adapted various popular melodies of his day into his works so as to ensure a wider audience, as evidenced in the incorporation of the Oberon overture into his early waltz, "Wiener Carneval", Op. 3, and also the French national anthem "La Marseillaise" into his "Paris-Walzer", Op. 101.

1840  --  he is largely responsible for introducing the quadrille dance to Austria in the 1840 Fasching, where it became very popular.

1844  --  Johann openly acknowledges his paternity of a daughter born to Emilie and Maria Anna sues him for divorce. With the ending of the marriage Anna Strauss determined to further Johann Strauss II's musical career, allowing him to develop his skills as a composer.

Despite family problems, Strauss senior continued to tour frequently and was always prepared to write novelty pieces for numerous charitable organizations. His waltzes were gradually developed from a rustic peasant dance into one which posterity would recognize as the Viennese Waltz. They were written in three-quarter time with a short introduction; often with little or no reference to the later chain of five two-part waltz structure; usually appended with a short coda and concluded in a stirring finish, although his son Johann Strauss II expanded the waltz structure and utilized more instruments than his father. While he did not possess a musical talent as rich as his eldest son's, nor a business mind as astute, he was among the handful of early waltz composers along with Joseph Lanner to actively write pieces with individual titles — with the view to boost sales of their sheet music — which enabled music enthusiasts to easily recognize those pieces. In fact, during his performances at the Sperl-Ballroom in Vienna, where he established his name, he actively pursued the concept of collecting a fixed entrance fee from the patrons of the ballroom instead of the old practice of passing around a collection plate where income was reliant on the goodwill of the patrons.

Johann Strauss II often played his father's works and openly declared his admiration of them, although it was no secret to the Viennese that their rivalry was intense, with the press at that time fueling it. Johann Strauss I himself refused to play ever again at the Dommayer's Casino, which offered his son his conducting debut, and was to tower over his son during his lifetime in terms of career advancement, although Strauss II was to eclipse him in terms of popularity in the classical repertoire. In 1846, Johann Strauss I was awarded the honorary title of K.K. Hofballmusikdirektor (Director of Music for the Imperial and Royal Court Balls) by Emperor Ferdinand I.

1848  --  revolution of 1848, a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848 that remains the most widespread revolutionary wave in European history.  Within a year, however, reactionary forces had won out, and the revolutions collapsed.  In Austria Metternich and the mentally handicapped Emperor Ferdinand I were forced to resign to be replaced by the emperor's young nephew Franz Joseph.

"On 6 October 1848, as the troops of the Austrian Empire were preparing to leave Vienna to suppress the Hungarian Revolution, a crowd sympathetic to the Hungarian cause (of workers, students and mutinous soldiers) tried to prevent them from leaving. The incident escalated into violent street battles; blood was spilt in Saint Stephen's Cathedral and Count Baillet von Latour, the Austrian Minister of War, was lynched by the crowd. The commander of the Vienna garrison, Count Auersperg, was obliged to evacuate the city, but he entrenched himself in a strong position outside it.

"On 26 October, under the command of General Windisch-Grätz and Count Josip Jelačić, the Austrian and Croatian armies started a bombardment of Vienna, and they stormed the city centre on the 31st. The defense was led by the Polish General Józef Bem. Except for him, who managed to escape, all the leaders of the resistance were executed in the days following—including Wenzel Messenhauser, the journalist Alfred Julius Becher, Hermann Jellinek and the Radical member of parliament Robert Blum, even though he had parliamentary immunity."

 


1848-1916  --  reign of Francis Joseph I.

1849  --  Strauss I died in Vienna from scarlet fever contracted from one of his illegitimate children.  He was buried at the Döblinger cemetery beside his friend Joseph Lanner.

1853  --  due to constant mental and physical demands, Strauss II suffered a nervous breakdown.  He took a seven-week vacation in the countryside in the summer of that year, on the advice of doctors. Johann's younger brother Josef was persuaded by his family to abandon his career as an engineer and take command of Johann's orchestra in the interim.

1855  --  Strauss accepted commissions from the management of the Tsarskoye-Selo Railway Company of Saint Petersburg to play in Russia for the Vauxhall Pavilion at Pavlovsk in 1856.

1859  --  death of Metternich.

1862  --  Strauss II  marries the singer Henrietta Treffz.

1863  --  Strauss II attains the position of KK Hofballmusikdirektor Music Director of the Royal Court Balls.

1878  --  they remained together until her death.  Strauss married the actress Angelika Dittrich. Dittrich was not a fervent supporter of his music, and their differences in status and opinion, and especially her indiscretions, led him to seek a divorce.  Strauss was not granted a divorce by the Roman Catholic Church, and therefore changed religion and nationality.

1882 (August)  --  Strauss sought solace in his third wife Adele Deutsch, whom he married. She encouraged his creative talent to flow once more in his later years, resulting in many famous compositions, such as the operettas Der Zigeunerbaron and Waldmeister, and the waltzes "Kaiser-Walzer" Op. 437, "Kaiser Jubiläum" Op. 434, and "Klug Gretelein" Op. 462.

1887 (January)  --  he became a citizen of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.

1904  --  both of Strauss I and Lanner's remains were transferred to the graves of honor at the Zentralfriedhof. The former Döbling Cemetery is now a Strauss-Lanner Park. Hector Berlioz himself paid tribute to the 'Father of the Viennese Waltz' by commenting that "Vienna without Strauss is like Austria without the Danube".


1916-1918  --  reign of Charles I.  The last Austrian Emperor. 

 

 

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