Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Day Concert in Vienna

This is a past Tuesday Blog from Jan-01-2012.

This post was updated to address discontined content. 

This is the ninth of Pierre's Twelve Days of Blogging.

From the Vienna Philharmonic's website:

It has long been a Philharmonic tradition at the New Year to present a program consisting of the lively and at the same time nostalgic music from the vast repertoire of the Johann Strauss family and its contemporaries. These concerts not only delight the audiences in the Musikverein in Vienna, but also enjoy great international popularity through the world wide television broadcasts [by the ORF to over 70 television networks and 300 radio stations], which now reach over 50 countries.

Originating during a dark period of Austria's history, these concerts were initially conceived for a local audience as a reminder of better times and a source of hope for the future. Today millions of people throughout the world are similarly encouraged by the light-hearted yet subtly profound character of this music, and draw joy and optimism for the New Year ahead.

It is the desire of the Philharmonic not only to provide musically definitive interpretations of the masterworks of this genre, but at the same time, as musical ambassadors of Austria, to send people all over the world a New Year's greeting in the spirit of hope, friendship and peace.


The traditional New Year's Concert on January 1, 2012, will be conducted for the second time by the Latvian conductor Mariss Jansons. Mariss Jansons is Principal Conductor of the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio and the Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. Ever since the first concert together in April 1992, Jansons has belonged to the circle of conductors with whom the Vienna Philharmonic feels a special bond. His first New Year's Concert in 2006 was widely acclaimed by both audiences and the media.
We in North-America get to se e this concert over the PBS network of stations - for years, this broadcast was hosted by the late Walter Cronkite who oversaw the proceedings for years after he left the anchor desk at CBS News. The last time I saw the concert on TV, Lorin Maazel conducted and the festive mood was overshadowed by the Indonesian Tsunami of December 2004.

It is a previlege offered to a select few to conduct the Philaharmonic on New-Year's Day: WIlli Boskowski (former concertmaster of the Philharmonic) did so for many years, and for well over 25 years, a succession of guest conductors: Lorin MaazelGeorges PrêtreNikolaus Harnoncourt,Riccardo Muti... and Herbert von Karajan have done so.

For this New Year's day blog, please enjoy an all-Strauss program conducted by Karajan 25 years ago (New Year's 1987). Host Walter Cronkite provides commentary and takes viewers on tours of the Palace at Schonbrunn and the world-famous Riding School, the home of the Lippizaner stallions.

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Overture to Die Fledermaus, RV 503 

Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849)
Beliebte Annen Polka, Op. 137

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Vergnügungszug Polka, Op. 281 
Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 
Perpetuum mobile, Op. 257 "Musikalischer Scherz" 
Frühlingsstimmen, Op. 410 
Performer:  Kathleen Battle (Soprano) 

(Lengthy intermission section)

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Overture to Der Zigeunerbaron, RV 511 
Unter Donner und Blitz, Op. 324 

Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Ohne Sorgen, Op. 271

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 

Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849)
Radetzky March, Op. 228

Wiener Philharmoniker
Herbert Von Karajan, conducting

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