Belgium’s Harry Coseman – known as the Voice of Strauss – released his second single “Blue Danube of Mine” in 2020. The track is obviously a reworking of the Strauss waltz done with a light modern feel.
For the video, the singer travelled to Los Angeles, singing the Viennese masterpiece from the bed of the so-called “dry river”. This drainage channel has been used in movies as diverse as “Terminator” and “Grease”.
The track will also be part of an upcoming TV special called “Strauss vs Strauss”, detailing the lives and scandals of the Strauss family.
Although there are no other sung versions of the Blue Danube in circulation, it’s a little-known fact that the earliest version of the tune was for a Viennese male choir. As far as we know, there are no known recordings of this version.
See also: The Blue Danube celebrates 150 years
How blue is the Blue Danube?
It is unlikely that the Danube was actually blue even when Strauss wrote the piece. Currently, it is a majestic and powerful yet murky-green river that flows through central Europe taking in Vienna, Budapest and other major historical cities.
The original title is “An der schönen blauen Donau“, with lyrics to that effect. Its premiere was a flop, with Strauss commenting afterwards, “The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!” As Strauss has written some 400 waltzes already, he knew a good melody when he heard one. So he salvaged the good parts and revamped the piece for a major concert at the Paris World Fair in 1867.
The song was an outstanding success – so much so that the printing presses had to be re-set to keep up with demand for the sheet music.
The Blue Danube went on to become one of classical music’s most enuring melodies. Over the years, it has been used repeatedly in films, ads and TV series that have brought it to new audiences and generations. Two of the most significant are the movie “2001: Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick and the series “Squid Games” by Hwang Dong-hyuk in 2021.