Johann Strauss I (March 14, 1804 – September 25, 1849; German: Johann Baptist Strauß, Johann Strauss (Vater); also Johann Baptist Strauss, Johann Strauss, Sr., the Elder, the Father), born in Vienna, was 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.
Life and work
Johann Strauss was the father of Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss, the last of whom had a son called Johann Strauss III, born in 1866. He also had two daughters, Anna, who was born in 1829, and Therese, who was born in 1831. His youngest son, Ferdinand, born in 1834, lived only ten months. 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). Strauss had a Hungarian Jewish grandfather, Johann Michael Strauss (1720–1800), who converted to Catholicism.
Tragedy struck his family as his mother died of 'creeping fever' when he was seven. When he was 12, his father Franz Borgias Strauss was discovered 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. Contrary to a story later told by his son, Johann jun., he never ran away from his bookbinder apprenticeship and in fact successfully completed it in 1822. 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. This string quartet playing Viennese waltzes and rustic German dances expanded into a small string orchestra in 1824.
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