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New Year's Concert 2012: Vienna Philharmonic -2 CD

As with his 2006 Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert program, Mariss Jansons rings in 2012 with a fresh mix of traditional fare and novelties. Several selections appear for the first time on a New Year's concert, such as the Rathhaus-Ball-Tänze, where Johann Strauss II quotes now and then from The Blue Danube. Other Neujahrskonzert premieres include the younger Strauss' debonair, up-tempo polka Entweder-oder!, Josef Strauss' relatively laid back polka Artists' Greeting, Hans Christian Lumbye's Copenhagen Steam Railway Galop (complete with prerequisite chugging rhythms and train bell), and two selections from Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beauty.

Give Jansons credit also for presenting familiar favorites in unusual light. The Vienna Boys Choir, for example, joins in for Tritsch-Tratsch Polka (so much lighter and more playful than Claudio Abbado's heavier, similarly vocalized 1988 Neujahrskonzert traversal) and Feuerfest, while Pizzicato Polka's modest string orchestration is augmented by discreet percussive accents.

If Jansons makes Josef Strauss' old chestnut Jokey-Polka sound too tidy and straight-laced in comparison with Carlos Kleiber's nervous energy and ever so slight pressing ahead of the beat, buoyant inner rhythm and careful yet unfussy dynamic gradations invigorate Thunder and Lightning, The Blue Danube, and the inevitable Radetzky March encore. Sony/BMG's engineering vividly captures the orchestra's gorgeous sonorities and the overall sense of occasion, albeit without the robust impact distinguishing Ozawa 2002 (Philips) and Barenboim 2009 (Decca). All told, a superb and lovable release.

“It is something quite special: a wonderful opportunity to listen to this music and get to know it. This atmosphere, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Golden Hall of the Musikverein – all that adds up to a long and wonderful tradition resulting in fantastic, very specific music.” Mariss Jansons

Brand New /sealed 2CD Sony
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  • Seller location: Lower Hutt City, Wellington, NZ

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