Johann Strauss II, often called “the Waltz King,” wrote altogether more than five-hundred dance pieces, many becoming tremendously popular in Vienna in the second half of the nineteenth century. Today, Strauss II’s compositions are favored by just about everyone around the globe. The annual broadcast of the New Year’s concert by the Wiener Philharmoniker, which always features a large number of Strauss II’s compositions, remains one of the most widely viewed classical music television programs.
The majority of the compositions Strauss II wrote were either waltzes or polkas. In addition, he also composed a significant number of operettas, of which Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is undoubtedly best known. Today, the work is part of the standard repertoire of most, if not all, opera houses around the world.
Josef Strauss was the brother of Johann Strauss II and Eduard Strauss. Josef was taught to be an engineer at first. Upon finishing his vocational training, he began working for the city of Vienna. In his mid-twenties, however, he changed his profession and became a composer-musician. Throughout his career, he wrote altogether nearly three hundred pieces; most were dance compositions like waltzes, polkas, and quadrilles.