The Blue Danube
The whole world sighs when it hears the opening notes of Johann Strauss II's "The Blue Danube" waltz. The melody sublimely suggests the flowing waters, the interplay of main current and the little whirlpools you see on the Danube as you walk along its banks.
Throughout the years, the "Blue Danube" has been one of Vienna's most consistently popular pieces of music. Because of the emotional connotations to the Viennese people, this waltz composed in 1866 by Johann Strauss II, has become Vienna's unofficial anthem. It is traditionally played at the annual Vienna New Year's concert and at other official events.
This famous work, originally titled An der schönen blauen Donau (On the Beautiful Blue Danube), was first preformed in February of 1867 at a concert by the Vienna Men's Choral Association. Although it was not instantaneously popular, it has continued to gain appeal since then. After Johann Strauss II composed the music for The Blue Danube, Choral Association's poet Joseph Weyl added the words to it. Franz von Gerneth wrote an alternative text, Donau so blau, meaning Danube so blue, however, the instrumental version still remains the most popular. "The Blue Danube" is the most recognizable melody among all other music which pulsates and flows throughout Vienna.
There are Mozart music concerts around every corner, Vienna Boys' Choir performances, opera evenings and operetta afternoons, competing orchestras, teenage girls singing acapella in a park, and the new, cutting edge music performed by young musicians.
It is often said that Vienna moves in three-four time. The movement is almost audible during the carnival, when the whole city of Vienna is dancing to the music of Johann Strauss. The season's highlight is the Opera Ball, but Vienna has several more balls: the Philharmoniker Ball, the Bonbon Ball or the Rudolfina Redoute. These formal affairs usually they take place at historic sites, such as Hofburg Palace, Konzerthaus and Musikverein.
The proper way to dance Viennese waltz is only from the waist down, holding the upper body straight, while whirling around the crowded dance floor. The movement resulting from this correct posture is breathtaking in its sweep and splendor, and its elegant coupling of free-wheeling exuberance and rigid formality of license and constraint is quintessentially Viennese.