08 Jun

The Last Walz - The Strauss Family and Vienna - book review

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John Suchet –

THE LAST WALTZ – The Strauss Family and Vienna

Hardback  277pp   ISBN:978-1-78396-116-0

Published by Elliott and Thompson,  London,
in association with CLASSIC FM RADIO.

Price  £25.00

Having written six books about Ludwig van Beethoven, upon whom he is an acknowledged expert, John Suchet has now turned his attention to the Strauss family –  ‘dynasty’ as he describes it – and the Vienna of the nineteenth century.

It’s somewhat strange that the history of such a prolific group, (whose music is so well-loved and  has maintained such universal enduring popularity), should be  relatively unknown.

But a really fascinating story it is, and  Suchet  chronicles  it in an eminently appealing way. He has quite  obviously  ’burned a lot of midnight oil’  researching his subject.
 
We learn about  the two ‘Johanns’, father and son, together with Josef and Eduard, who at times were anything but a ‘happy family’, riven by tensions, feuds and jealousy, against the backdrop of a country undergoing an enormous upheaval as it hurtled, seemingly ‘kicking and  screaming’,  towards the twentieth century.

Throughout this personal and political chaos   the Strausses continued to write the waltzes to which the Viennese – anxious to forget their troubles – danced and drank champagne !

The book is beautifully presented, and lavishly illustrated.  Although not inexpensive, it is definitely a worthwhile addition to every serious music enthusiast’s library  and would make a wonderful gift.

Tony Clayden
©  June 2016

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Read 979 times Last modified on Wednesday, 08 June 2016 09:04

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About Geoff 123
Geoff Leonard was born in Bristol. He spent much of his working career in banking but became an independent record producer in the early nineties, specialising in the works of John Barry and British TV theme compilations.
He also wrote liner notes for many soundtrack albums, including those by John Barry, Roy Budd, Ron Grainer, Maurice Jarre and Johnny Harris. He co-wrote two biographies of John Barry in 1998 and 2008, and is currently working on a biography of singer, actor, producer Adam Faith.
He joined the Internet Movie Data-base (www.imdb.com) as a data-manager in 2001 and looked after biographies, composers and the music-department, amongst other tasks. He retired after nine years loyal service in order to continue writing.