Johann Strauss - The Blue Danube
The unforgettable sequence of waltz tunes known the world over simply as the Blue Danube Waltz was originally written for the Vienna's Men's Choral Association. In its purely orchestral form, it became one of the most popular classical pieces ever.
Vienna Philharmonic, Willi Boskoskvy
Bavarian State Orchestra*, Carlos Kleiber*
1. Die Fledermaus - Overture*
Die Fledermaus, his most famous operetta, is primarily loved for what happens before anyone sets foot on the stage: the eight-minute overture is packed full of tunes from start to finish, all of which end up appearing during the course of the action that follows.
2. Tik-Tak Polka
The exhilarating Tik-Tak Polka is one of six numbers that Strauss lifted from his third opperetta Die Fledermaus.
3. Voices of Spring
Both the vocal and orchestral versions of the delectable Voices of Spring were slow to catch on at first, and ironically it was only after Grünfeld made a fleet fingered arrangement for solo piano that it began to take off.
4. Pizzicato Polka
A delightful joint effort by Josef and Johann Strauss after the technique of plucking the strings with the index finger of the right hand.
5. The Blue Danube
The unforgettable sequence of waltz tunes known the world over simply as the Blue Danube Waltz was originally written for the Vienna Men's Choral Association. In its purely orchestral form, it became on of the most popular classical pieces ever.
6. Tritsch-Trasch Polka
One of Strauss' most popular miniatures , the Tritsch-Tratsch Polka is an upbeat number which borrowed its name from a contemporary satirical publication.
7. Artist's Life
An Artist's Life is another ravishing sequence of waltz tunes written specifically for the annual Vienna Carnival.
8. Bandits' Galop
The lively Bandit's Salop is another gem, in this case taken from Strauss' comic operetta, which features a gang of bandits intent on overthrowing a Prince.
9. Emperor Waltz
The so-called Emperor Waltz actually began life in 1889 as a set of waltzes entitled Hand-in-Hand, a topical reference to the new bond of friendship that existed at the time between a notable Austrian Emperor and German Kaiser.
10. Champagne Polka
You might not be dancing the polka, but New Year’s Eve is made that little bit extra special with a glass of bubbly. The sprightly music is a little joke from Johann Strauss II, who wrote the piece to evoke the sound of champagne bottles being uncorked.
11. Roses from the South
It doesn't come much more flamboyantly flowery than this waltz medley by Strauss. Composed in 1880, 'Roses from the South' takes its main musical themes from the composer's operetta, The Queen's Lace Handkerchief.
12. Thunder and Lightning Polka
No less invigorating is the Thunder and Lightning Polka, in which the briefest of vamped introductions leads to series of themes underpinned by constant rumbles from the bass drum.
13. Vienna Blood Waltz
Vienna Blood or 'Wiener Blut' was specially composed to celebrate the wedding of Emperor Franz Joseph's daughter. Its first performance was given as part of Strauss' first concert with the world renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
14. Johann Strauss I: Radetzky March
Finally, here is Johann Strauss Snr.'s most famous work the Radetszy March, a rousing piece written in celebration of the Austrian victory over the Italians in July 1848.