New Year's Concert - 2012
CD 1
Part One
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Vaterländischer Marsch* (Patriotic March) [3:28]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Rathausball-Tänze* (City Hall Ball Dances) waltz, op. 438 [7:41]
Entweder-oder!* (Either-Or!) fast polka, op. 403 [2:59]
Tritsch-Tratsch (Chit-chat) fast polka, op. 214 [2:47]
with the Vienna Boy’s Choir
Carl Michael ZIEHRER (1843-1922)
Wiener Bürger (Viennese Citizens) waltz, op. 419 [7:28]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Albion polka, op. 102 [3:20]
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Jockey, fast polka, op. 278 (1870) [1:40]
Part Two
Joseph HELLMESBERGER II (1855-1907)
Danse Diabolique (Diabolic dance) [3:44]
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Künstler-Gruß (Artists’ Greeting) polka française, op. 274 [3:21]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Freuet euch des Lebens (Enjoy your Life) waltz, op. 340 [8:43]
Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849)
Sperl Galopp (Sperl Galop), op. 42 [2:15]
CD 2
Hans Christian LUMBYE (1810-1874)
Copenhagen Eisenbahn-Dampf Galopp* (Copenhagen Steam Train Galop) [3:53]
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Feuerfest (Fireproof) polka française, op. 269 [3:15]
with the Vienna Boy’s Choir
Eduard STRAUSS (1835-1916)
Carmen Quadrille, op. 134 [5:27]
Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
Panorama from the ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’*, op. 66 [2:23]
Waltz from the ballet ‘Sleeping Beauty’*, op. 66 [4:48]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Pizzicato Polka [2:44]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Persischer Marsch (Persian March), op. 289 [2:23]
Josef STRAUSS (1827-1870)
Brennende Liebe (Burning Love) polka mazur, op. 129 [4:18]
Delirien (Delirium) waltz, op. 212 (1867) [8:29]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
Unter Donner und Blitz (Thunder and Lightning) fast polka, op. 324 [3:04]
Tik-Tak (Tic-Toc) fast polka, op. 365 [2:31]
Neujahrsgruß (New Year’s Address) [0:37]
Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
An der schönen blauen Donau (By the Beautiful Blue Danube) waltz, op. 314 (1866) [9:52]
Johann STRAUSS I (1804-1849)
Radetzky March, op. 228 (1848) [3:41]
Vienna Boys' Choir,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra/Mariss Jansons
rec. 1 January 2012, Musikverein, Golden Hall, Vienna, Austria; First performance at New Year’s Concert*
SONY CLASSICAL 88691913772 [47:36 + 57:25]
The 2012 New Year's Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (VPO) conducted by Latvian Mariss Jansons was his second appearance as conductor of the now legendary event. Jansons’s first New Year's Concert in 2006 garnered much acclaim but he was no stranger to the VPO as it was back in 1992 when Jansons first conducted them. The 2012 programme consisted of 24 scores - the perennial mix of familiar classics and unknown gems with six works receiving their New Year’s Concert première.
Originating in 1939 under the baton of Clemens Krauss more than seven decades ago and held in the stunning Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein there cannot be many music-lovers who don’t realise the exalted reputation of the annual New Year's Day Concert. Traditionally the programme is of an upbeat character consist of waltzes and polkas, with gallops, quadrilles, mazurkas and marches taken from the huge repertoire of the Strauss family and their contemporaries. The immense international popularity never seems to diminish with television broadcasts watched in over 70 countries by an audience estimated at 50 million. Some Golden Hall seats are pre-registered for the concert by Austrian families and are passed down from one generation to another. Not surprisingly concert tickets are like gold dust. In addition the phenomenal success of André Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra has created a resurgence in interest in the music of the Strauss family.
The 2012 concert opened with a New Year première, the Patriotic March a joint effort from brothers Johann Strauss II (1825-1899) and Josef Strauss (1827-1870). This sturdy and masculine score quotes material from the ever popular Radetzky March by their father Johann Strauss I (1804-1849). The City Hall Ball Dances that Johann Strauss II wrote to mark the occasion of the first ball held in Vienna’s new Town Hall in 1890 were gratifying. This swinging waltz combines music borrowed from Johann’s own By the Beautiful Blue Danube and Haydn’s celebrated Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser - at one time adopted as the national anthems of Austria and Germany. I enjoyed the attractive Viennese Citizens waltz by Viennese composer Carl Michael Ziehrer (1843-1922) - a real audience pleasing score - and the thoroughly rousing and virtuosic Diabolic Dance by the former leader and principal conductor of the VPO, Joseph Hellmesberger Jr. (1855-1907). Fresh to the New Year’s Concert was the Copenhagen Steam Train Galop by the Dane Hans Christian Lumbye (1810-1874). It’s a fascinating piece, high on thrills including whistle and train effects. Two works surprisingly receiving their New Year’s Concert debuts were the melodious Panorama and the appealing Waltz from Tchaikovsky’s celebrated Sleeping Beauty. Eduard Strauss (1835-1916), another son of Johann Strauss, wrote the appealing and melodious Carmen Quadrille containing music based on themes from Bizet’s Carmen. Other pieces that I especially enjoyed were the Persian March for its memorable and foot-tapping melodies and the fast and furious Thunder and Lightning polka both by Johann Strauss II. There’s also the nightmarish shenanigans of the Delirium waltz by Joseph Strauss.
Appearing in each half of the concert the Vienna Boy’s Choir conveyed their youthful enthusiasm and style in Tritsch-Tratsch, the fast polka by Johann Strauss II and the French polka Fireproof from Josef Strauss. Feuerfest saw Mariss Jansons playing the anvil with such vigour that I feared for his health; which has been a real problem for the conductor in the recent past. Given as encores to bring the concert to its traditional conclusion were the second and first most performed works in the history of the New Year Concerts. If you haven’t already guessed they were the majestic waltz An der schönen blauen Donau by Johann Strauss II a musical postcard of Vienna and the rousing Radetzky March by Johann Strauss I.
Throughout Jansons conducts the VPO with a real Straussian lilt and provides unfailing charm and sparkling exuberance in the marches, galops and polkas. This music could be said to run through the orchestra’s veins they know it so well. It is the player’s palpable enthusiasm that prevents the music coming across as over-familiar. I watched the splendid television broadcast live on New Year’s morning. Some people have commented in the press that there seemed to be no women in the orchestra. I could see two or three women players but the camera-work did not make this easy. The accompanying booklet contains an informative essay from Dr. Clemens Hellsberg president of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. For some unknown reason the track timings are not indicated on the release. I have provided the timings which include audience applause. Really satisfying sound quality adds to the enjoyment of these stirring and winning performances.
Michael Cookson
Really satisfying sound quality adds to the enjoyment of these stirring and winning performances.