Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Classical Music - Sunday 12 January 2014

Catherine Bott asks what was it about the Strauss dynasty that captured the public imagination?

Johann Strauss memorial Vienna

New Year festivities are often associated with the music of the Strauss family of Vienna. 

150 years ago Johann Strauss Senior was at his peak in the city premiering new works. He spawned a musical dynasty - so what was it about the waltzes of the Strausses that captured the public imagination and continues to do so today through the performances of Andre Rieu ?

Tonight Catherine Bott starts her journey through the world of the Strausses with The Pleasure Train Polka, composed by Johann Strauss II exactly 150 years ago for the Association of Industrial Societies' Ball on 19 January 1864 and inspired by the opening of the Austrian Southern Railway lines which operated many 'pleasure trains' offering journeys to the countryside. 

There's also music from the bandmaster Joseph Lanner who, in 1832, allowed his soon-to-be rival Johann Strauss I to deputise for his second, smaller orchestra that was formed that year to meet the busy schedule of Vienna's carnival activities.