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Eduard Strauss (15 March 1835 – 28 December 1916) was an Austrian composer who, together with brothers Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss formed the Strauss musical dynasty. The family dominated the Viennese light music world for decades, creating many waltzes and polkas for Austrian emperors and their courtiers. He was affectionately known in his family as 'Edi'.
Strauss' style was individual and did not attempt to emulate the works of his other brothers or his contemporaries. But he was generally recognised as a dance music conductor rather than as a composer in the Strauss family, and his popularity was always overshadowed by that of his elder brothers. Realising this, he stamped his own mark with the quick polka, known in German as the "polka-schnell". Among the more popular polkas that he ever penned for the Strauss Orchestra, which he continued to conduct until its disbandment on 13 February, 1901, were "Bahn Frei" op. 45, "Ausser Rand und Band" op.168, and "Ohne Bremse" op. 238. He also found time to pen a few lovely waltzes, few of which have survived. The most famous is the "Doctrinen" op.79.
Strauss' musical career was pervaded with rivalry not only from his brothers but also from the military bandmaster and dance music composer, Karl Michael Ziehrer. Ziehrer even formed a rival orchestra called "Formerly Eduard Strauss Orchestra" and began giving concerts in Vienna under this new title. Strauss successfully filed a court action against Ziehrer for the improper and misleading use of his name. The rivalry was to extend until the Strauss Orchestra was disbanded.
Strauss married Maria Klenkhart on 8 January, 1863 and had two sons, Johann Strauss III and Josef Eduard Strauss . The eldest son, Johann Strauss III was to lead the Strauss revival well into the 20th century.
However, personal setbacks in the 1890s such as the death of brother Johann Strauss II in 1899 and his realization that his immediate family had squandered his personal fortune led Eduard Strauss to decide on retirement. In 1901, he disbanded the Strauss Orchestra and returned to Vienna where he died in 1916. He retired from public life and never actively took part in any public musical activity although he did document his family memoirs titled Erinnerungen in 1906.
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