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The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
John Suchet introduces his fascinating new book
Delve into the fascinating story of the Strauss family, from their best known melodies to the gripping tales of family drama, tension and triumphs. Special signed edition now available from waterstones.com
The Last Waltz tells the intriguing story of two generations of the Viennese family that produced some of the best-known and best-loved music of the 19th century. The two 'Waltz Kings', along with the rest of the family, composed literally hundreds of instantly recognisable and enduring melodies, including The Blue Danube Waltz, Tales from the Vienna Woods, Voices of Spring and The Radetzky March.
Yet this was also a family riven with tension, feuds and jealousy, living in a country that was undergoing seismic upheaval. As the 20th century dawned, an emperor ill-equipped for leadership struggled to maintain the exalted place of the Austro-Hungarian empire on the European stage, while enduring more personal tragedy than any man should have to bear.
Through the personal and political chaos, the Strauss family continued to compose waltzes to which the Viennese – anxious to forget their troubles – danced and drank champagne, as their country hurtled towards the First World War, and oblivion.
In The Last Waltz, John Suchet skilfully portrays this gripping story, capturing the family dramas, the tensions, triumphs and disasters, all set against the turbulent backdrop of Austria in the 19th century, from revolution to regicide.