Wednesday, 28 December 2016

CD Review (The Straits Times, December 2016)

Vienna Philharmonic / MARISS JANSONS
Sony Classical 88875174772 / ****1/2

75 years of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra's patented New Year Concerts have yielded over 319 different works by the Strauss family and other composers of festive light music, and more are added every year to this delectable smorgasbord of confections and lollipops. 

The 2016 edition conducted by Latvia-born Mariss Jansons throws in eight more works not previous heard in the Golden Hall of Vienna's Musikverein. Heading this list is Robert Stolz's United Nations March, composed as recently as 1962 and the most “modern” work ever performed in this series.

Also heard for the first time are Waldteufel's España (using the same tunes as Chabrier's España), Hellmesberger's Ball Scene, Ziehrer's Viennese Maidens, Eduard Strauss' Out Of Bounds, and three other Johann Strauss II rarities, all agreeable fare for the occasion. 

The familiar favourites also return, such as the Emperor Waltz, Treasure Waltz, Pleasure Train, Josef Strauss' Music Of The Spheres, and the sine qua non obligates - The Beautiful Blue Danube and Johann Strauss the Elder's Radetzky March - with synchronised clapping from the audience. Like all things Viennese, old habits die hard, and older pleasures ever more so.  

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