The Last Waltz: The Strauss Dynasty and Vienna
The tale of two Waltz Kings: how the Strauss family took Europe by storm during the nineteenth century
The Strauss family name is forever intertwined with Vienna – as is their music. Two generations of this remarkable family transformed and popularised the waltz, delighting all of Viennese society with their prolific compositions. But behind the melody lay a darker discord, as the Strausses tore themselves apart while Vienna itself struggled to secure its place in a rapidly changing world.
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 nineteenth century, from revolution to regicide.
Discover the truth behind Vienna’s extraordinary musical dynasty.
"I greatly enjoyed spending time with John Suchet's fascinating book about Johann Strauss, and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did." -- André Rieu
"John beautifully balances the family Strauss saga with the fall of the Habsburg Empire. This copiously illustrated book is terrific!" -- Carl Davis, composer and conductor
"Riveting reading ... I found it difficult to put down. Stuffed full of facts, both historical and musical, this is in no way a dry academic tome because John Suchet, as always, spins his enthusiastic way through the drama as if guiding us personally in the footsteps of the protagonists and their times. I can highly recommend this absorbing and beautifully presented book." -- Howard Shelley, pianist and conductor
“Very readable … elegantly prepared with plenty of quality illustrations … makes a fascinating read about one of the greatest musical dynasties that ever lived. John Suchet puts their personal lives into the context of the politics of the day without missing out on the musical history. A book to be thoroughly recommended.” -- John Diamond, Chairman of The Johann Strauss Society of Great Britain
“Handsomely produced and superbly written… As a former News at Ten anchor [Suchet] knows a thing or two about distilling narratives and crafting pay-off lines. (His best is the book’s very last sentence, which it would be churlish to reveal.)”—Richard Osborne, The Oldie
"This handsomely presented volume positively screams to be taken down from the shelf and explored. In its pages, John Suchet succeeds in giving an overview of the Viennese Strauss dynasty of musicians, setting it in the context of the often turbulent and tragic lives of the ruling Habsburg dynasty. Importantly, and unlike almost every other contemporary writer in this field, Suchet embraces the fact that the Strauss family’s music-making did not end with the death of the ‘Waltz King’ in 1899, but continued well into the ‘swinging sixties’ of the 20th century." -- Peter Kemp, author of The Strauss Family: Portrait of a Musical Dynasty
"Engaging ... the narrative style is very beguiling and draws the reader in very quickly. I could not put this down once I had started it... This book, as well as being immensely readable, entertaining and beautifully written, is also beautifully produced. The paper is of a high quality, the kind that you want to stroke, the illustrations are superb and the layout of the whole book is a joy. I loved it." -- Random Jottings blog
“Thoroughly interesting and entertaining” -- The Herts Advertiser
"Incredibly informative and entertaining ... made me realise how little I knew about this musical dynasty. [Suchet's] talent for giving the reader facts without any heavy academic approach means this is a very approachable route into becoming your own Strauss authority! The snippets and anecdotes have been carefully collected and put together in such a way that dipping in and out of the book is easy - highly recommended for anyone wondering what is behind the Blue Danube!" -- Sandra Parr, Artistic Planning Director (Orchestra and Ensembles), Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra