In Vienna, There is no escaping The Blue Danube waltz. It is played All year round, in restaurants, shops, and hotels…. It is Austria’s unofficial national anthem and the most identified melody with that city. Without it, the New Year’s Concert in Vienna would not be complete.
Most people Know this joyful classic waltz by its English name ‘The Blue Danube’. It is Johann Strauss II’s most famous Waltz, composed in 1866 to lift the country’s spirit after Austria was defeated by Prussia in the Seven Weeks’ War in 1866. He was inspired by Karl Isidor Beck’s poem. Each stanza ends with the line: ‘By the Danube, beautiful blue Danube’.
It is one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire who never lost any of its seductive allure. The Viennese waltz originally had an accompanying humorous lyrics written by Josef Weyl.
“Wiener seid froh! – Oho, wie so?
No so blickt nur um! – Ich bitt warum?
Ein Schimmer des Lichts – Wir seh`n noch nichts.
Ei, Fasching ist da – Ah so, na ja! …”
“Viennese be glad – Oh, what for?
Just look around – Why?
A shimmer of light – We don’t see any.
Hey, carnival is here – Oh, alright then! …”
However, when it was premiered in February of 1867 in vienna, its reception was somewhat muted, but when Strauss adapted it into a purely orchestral version for the World’s Fair in Paris that same year, it became a great success in this form. The instrumental version is by far the most commonly performed today. An alternate text by Franz von Gernerth, Donau so blau (Danube so blue), is also used on occasion.
“Donau, so blau, durch Tal und Au,
wogst ruhig du hin, dich grüßt unser Wien,
dein silbernes Band, knüpft Land an Land,
und fröhlich Herzen schlagen an deinem schönen Strand.…”
“Danube so blue, through vale and field
you flow so calmly, our Vienna greets you,
your silver stream through all the lands
you merry the heart on your beautiful shores….”
The blue danube in movies
The Blue Danube waltz was also featured in the movies: Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939), A Night to Remember (1958), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and Titanic (1997). It is possible you heard it in one of the numerous television commercials like recent iPhone, Doritos, and Subway commercials.
Johann Strauss’s II
He is the most widely popular composer of light classical music ever, wrote over 150 waltzes, bringing the form to perfection as an extended musical composition
Some of his most famous works include “The Blue Danube”, “Tales from the Vienna Woods”, “Kaiser-Walzer” (Emperor Waltz), and the “Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka”. Among his operettas, Die Fledermaus and Der Zigeunerbaron are the best known.
The Blue Danube waltz – Dance & Orchestra
enjoy one of the best “blue danube” recording by Wiener Philharmoniker Orchestra leading by Zubin Mehta.
If you liked this waltz, maybe you would like to listen Shostakovich’s The Second Waltz