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A new book explores the music of the Strauss family

19 June 2023

Image of people dancing

A new book by Emeritus Professor David Wyn Jones will be published by Cambridge University Press in June 2023: The Strauss Dynasty and Habsburg Vienna.

The music of the Strauss family – Johann and his three sons, Johann, Josef and Eduard – enjoys enormous popular appeal. Yet existing biographies have failed to do justice to their presence in musical history. From the mid 1820s to the First World War the music of the family was a constant presence in Viennese society, as it moved between dance hall, concert hall and theatre.

Widely admired by composers from Berlioz to Wagner, Brahms to Schoenberg, the music chronicled the attitudes and concerns of wider society, cultural, musical and political. This collective biography attempts to reclaim this wider presence.

David Wyn Jones said: "I have always liked the music of the Strauss family and felt its historical presence to be undervalued, in part due to the unfortunate, and fundamentally misleading, division between serious music and light music.

"The Emperor Waltz remains one of the most popular works by the younger Johann Strauss. During my research I was particularly pleased to discover a watercolour painting dating from the end of the nineteenth century entitled ‘Kaiser-Walzer’. It shows Emperor Franz Joseph, seated in a society ball and witnessing the dancing to Johann Strauss’s music. It is reproduced on the cover of the book."

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