Johann Strauss – Vienna Blood Op. 354
Wiener Blut (‘Viennese Blood’, ‘Vienna Blood’ or ‘Viennese Spirit’) Op. 354 is a waltz by Johann Strauss II first performed by the composer on 22 April 1873. The new dedication waltz was to celebrate the wedding of the Emperor Franz Joseph I’s daughter Archduchess Gisela Louise Maria and Prince Leopold of Bavaria. However, the waltz was also chiefly noted by Strauss’ biographers as the début of Strauss with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra where for many years, the Philharmonic had dismissed any association with the ‘Waltz King’ as it had not wished to be associated with mere ‘light’ or ‘pops’ music. The festival ball celebrating the event was held at the Musikverein Hall which is the venue for the present day Neujahrskonzert.
‘Wiener Blut’ is one of a handful of late works by Strauss that were not composed for the stage; at this point in his career he was concentrating on writing for the performing stage, and not for the ballroom, and had written at least two operettas before penning this waltz, with Die Fledermaus still to come.