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The Blue Danube, Op 314 Johann Strauss II in HD – unofficial Austrian national anthem! : make music part of your life series


The Blue Danube, Op 314 Johann Strauss II in HD – unofficial Austrian national anthem!

The Blue Danube is the common English title of An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314 (German for By the Beautiful Blue Danube), a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866. Originally performed 15 February 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesangsverein (Vienna Men’s Choral Association), it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. Its initial performance was only a mild success however and Strauss is reputed to have said “The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!”

After the original music was written, the words were added by the Choral Association’s poet, Joseph Weyl. Strauss later added more music, and Weyl needed to change some of the words. Strauss adapted it into a purely orchestral version for the World’s Fair in Paris that same year, and it became a great success in this form. The instrumental version is by far the most commonly performed today. An alternate text by Franz von Gernerth, Donau so blau (Danube so blue), is also used on occasion. The Blue Danube premiered in the United States in its instrumental version on 1 July 1867 in New York, and in Great Britain in its choral version on 21 September 1867 in London at the promenade concerts at Covent Garden.

The specifically Viennese sentiments associated with the waltz have made it an unofficial Austrian national anthem. The waltz is traditionally broadcast by all public-law television and radio stations exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Day it is a customary encore piece at the annual Vienna New Year’s Concert. The first few bars are the interval signal of Österreichischer Rundfunk‘s international programs.

When Strauss’s stepdaughter, Alice von Meyszner-Strauss, asked the composer Johannes Brahms to sign her autograph-fan, he wrote down the first bars of The Blue Danube, but adding “Leider nicht von Johannes Brahms” (Alas! not by Johannes Brahms).

A typical performance lasts around 10 minutes, with the seven-minute main piece, followed by a three-minute coda.
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The text above is taken from Wikipedia, under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Audio source: Youtube Audio Library
Picture by: Ivanhoe
Picture license: CC BY-SA 3.0
Picture source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Bud…

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