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Johann Strauss I

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Johann Strauss I (German: Johann Strauss) born in Vienna, (March 14, 1804 – September 25, 1849) was an Austrian Romantic composer known particularly for his waltzes and for popularizing it alongside Josef Lanner thereby (without intention) setting the foundations for his sons to carry on his musical dynasty. His most famous piece, however, is probably the Radetzky March (named after Joseph Radetzky von Radetz) whereas his most famous waltz is probably the Lorelei Rhine Klänge op. 154.

The often used German form “Strauß” is not correct: the composer himself always wrote his name with “ss”, and never with “ß”.

Johann Strauss I was the father of Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. He also had two daughters, Anna who was born in 1829 and Therese who was born in 1831 as well as third eldest son Ferdinand born 1834 lived only ten months.

Strauss’ parents were innkeepers. The location of his father’s inn at the Danube Channel and the neighboring harbor with its rafts and boats from different countries and the music played by the sailors, influenced Johann’s enthusiasm for popular dance music.

Tragedy struck his family as his mother died when he was seven of ‘creeping fever’. When he was twelve, his father Franz Borgias (who had since remarried) was discovered drowned in the Danube river. His step-mother sought to place him as an apprentice to a bookbinder Johann Lichtscheidl, but he took lessons in the violin and viola in addition to fulfilling his apprenticeship.

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