150 Years of the Blue Danube
Become the “Virtual Conductor” of the masterpiece
In winter 1866/67, Johann Strauss composed the Waltz „By the beautiful blue Danube”, op. 314, short - the Blue Danube. Soon after, the work became Vienna’s unofficial anthem and one of the most performed pieces of music in the classical repertoire worldwide. At Haus der Musik, the visitors get the unique opportunity to conduct the work themselves, as “virtual conductor” and a whole exhibition room is dedicated to Johann Strauss (1825 - 1899) and the Viennese Waltz.
Originally performed in February, 1867, by the Vienna Men's Choral Association, the Blue Danube Waltz is one of the most popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. The instrumental version of the Blue Danube is by far the most commonly performed today and the highlight of the annual New Year`s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.
The waltz – a development of the minuet – was a child of its time. Frowned upon in polite society until the early 19th century, because its hold was considered much too close for those days, and also because it originated from the farming community, the waltz still managed to become an extremely popular dance. The emerging bourgeoisie imitated the balls held by the nobility, making the waltz the most important dance – with roaring success, and even the aristocracy soon wanted to dance the waltz. The first city where it was permitted at Court, was Vienna. From Vienna, Johann Strauss Junior finally made the waltz a triumph. Dancing the waltz only remained prohibited in the presence of the Emperor.
The Johann Strauss exhibition room is designed as a pavilion, as if visitors have been invited to one of the large festivals, for which Strauss so often composed. This also includes a „magic lantern“ with a dancing couple, and a moving video wall showing people waltzing, which brings movement to the room. Memorabilia and photos of Johann Strauss, as well as ball gifts („ladies‘ gifts“) from his time, are exhibited in the display cases in order to illustrate the social customs of that time. At Haus der Musik, visitors also get the unique opportunity to conduct the “Blue Danube” themselves, as “Virtual Conductors” of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.