Last night we finally watched this year’s New Years From Vienna concert, a new year tradition of mine that dates back to high school when I discovered this wonderful annual program on PBS. We used to watch it on New Years Night, but now we wait a day or two until it becomes available for streaming on the PBS website and then watch it in the comfort of our own bed, usually with an open bottle of something sparkling. (This year it was hard cider, but sparkling is a must.)
Vienna’s New Years concert always features the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performing works by the Strauss family, with occasional pieces by other contemporary composers of light music. The telecast always features brief looks at Viennese history and art and architecture, and each year at least two or three of the performed works accompany a performance by dancers from the Vienna Ballet. If you’ve never seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough: it’s always a bit of music effervescence to bring in the New Year.
This piece, the overture to Johann Strauss’s operetta The Gypsy Baron, opened this year’s program. Now, this performance is actually from the 1992 concert, hence the more dated appearance. Today’s VPO is noticeably younger and also less male than the VPO of yore, but this music still runs through the blood of Vienna. Here, from 1992, is The Gypsy Baron overture. (Note, also, conductor Carlos Kleiber’s somewhat wild range of movement!)