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Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

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Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849) and Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Waltzes

Kaiser Franz Joseph Rettungs-Jubel-Marsch Op. 126
Kaiser-Waltzer Op. 437
Ein Herz, Ein Sinn Op. 323 (Polka-mazurka)
Bitte Schön Op. 372 (Polka Français)
Geschichten aus dem Weiner Wald Op. 325
Spleen Op. 197 (Polka-mazurka)
Tritsch-Tratsch Polka Op. 214
Walzer à la Paganini Op. 11
Fledermaus-quadrille Op. 363
An der Schönen Blauen Donau Op. 314
Radetzky-marsch Op. 228
Recorded in Vienna at the Grosser Saal of the Musikverein at the New Year’s Concerts of 1996 and 1999
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Lorin Maazel
RCA RED SEAL 09026 639832 [70.13]


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Souvenirs of the Vienna Phil New Year’s Concert don’t come much more consistently enjoyable than this. Collating performances at the 1996 and 1999 Concerts RCA Victor have filleted the very best of the two CDs that originally appeared on 09026 68421-2 and 74321 61687-2. The resultant disc appears in the company’s new reissue livery of colour photograph and lower case type. Preconceptions of a jutting and scowling Maazel have long since evaporated, at least in this congenial company, and he brings great delicacy and refinement to the repertoire. Seldom has the Kaiser-waltz sounded so delightfully nuanced, so carefully clarified and with Ein Herz, Ein Sinn his teasing little gestures are pleasurably idiomatic (it is a polka-mazurka after all). The Polka Française Bitte Schön has a delicious curve to it and takes on fresh life whilst Tales from the Vienna Woods opens in verdant and luxurious delicacy, the zither making its presence felt with stealth and charm. This is the kind of performance with which Maazel stamped his authority over the proceedings. The orchestral players as ever enjoy themselves - the trombones are splendid in Spleen, another Polka-Mazurka and collectively they give real rhythmic lift to the celebratory favourite, the Tritsch-Tratsch polka. Maazel picks up his violin for a piece of Paganini worship, the Walzer à la Paganini (arranged I think by Michael Rot).

I suppose it’s a shame that some of the other rarities that are seldom heard don’t appear alongside the good old good ones – so no room for the Keystone Cops paraphernalia of Banditen-Galopp (which was played in 1999) or something like Lagunen-Walzer or Künstlerleben amongst many others. Still what remains is as ever enormously enjoyable and graced by lashings of sheer charm.

Jonathan Woolf



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

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