The Beautiful Danube

THURSDAY, October 24, 2019

An der schönen blauen Donau

“The Blue Danube” is the common English title of “An der schönen blauen Donau” (“On the Beautiful Blue Danube”), a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II. It was an absolute failure. Apparently no one like it.

Popular for 152 years…

Later, Strauss added more music. He changed it to an orchestral version for the 1867 Paris World’s Fair, and it was popular from that time on. So you just never know!

Johann Strauss II…

Johann Strauss II ( 25 October 1825 – 3 June 1899) was also known as Johann Strauss Jr. He was the son of Johann Strauss I; his father was an Austrian composer of dance music and operettas. Johann Strauss II composed more than 500 compositions that were in his day what we would call today “dance music”. In other words, he was a pop composer, and his nickname was “The Waltz King”. In fact, many people say that he, more than anyone else, was responsible for the popularity of the waltz.

Stanley Kubrick the director…

Kubrick is famous for a number of films. In 2001, A Space Odyssey, he combined famous music with scenes in a way that no one had ever seen before. He linked The Beautiful Danube to a scene in space where a shuttle was moving from the earth to a space station, and the special effects were so amazing that this one scene can compete with anything done last year. The music is cut to fit, but you’ll get the idea. To me this is is an absolutely brilliant idea:

The rest of the story…

Here is the complete composition, which is about 10 minutes long. By the way, Richard Strauss was not related to Johann Strauss.



3 thoughts on “The Beautiful Danube

  1. It’s a bit strange that this piece of music was used in 2001: A Space Odyssey. I mean, the end of it’s part in that movie sounds like “I’ve accomplished something big”, but I’m not sure how this relates to the movie (I haven’t watched it).

  2. Who would have thought The Beautiful Blue Danube would be used as background music for a movie about space? I always pictured couples waltzing , but somehow Kubrick made it work.

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