Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra)’s New Year’s Concert in 1987. Conductor: Herbert von Karajan. Guest singer: Kathleen Battle (soprano).
Vienna Philharmonic New Year’s Concert 1987 Program
1. Johann Strauß – Der Zigeunerbaron (Die Fledermaus Overture)
Die Fledermaus (The Bat) is an operetta composed by Johann Strauss II to a German libretto by Karl Haffner (de) and Richard Genée.
2. Josef Strauß – Sphärenklänge: Walzer, Op. 235
Sphärenklänge (Music of the Spheres), op. 235 is a waltz by Josef Strauß.
3. Johann Strauß – Annen Polka: Polka française
One of his early pieces, the Annen Polka was composed in 1852, while Strauss was still making his way and generally performing with only a small group of players.
It was on the occasion of the public celebration of the Festival of St. Anne (July 26, 1852) that this work was first performed in Vienna at its huge municipal park, the Prater. Hundreds of acres in size, the Prater then contained (and still does today)many restaurants, bandstands, a race track, and several other amenities. It was at one of these bandstands during the festival that Strauss’ group performed it and hence the reason for its name. (Interestingly, Strauss Sr. had also written a polka for the same festival some ten years earlier. Both works are well-known.)
The Annen Polka is what the Viennese called a “Polka Francais”, a much more refined dance than the raucous German polka. It is a relatively short work and makes a lovely encore.
4. Josef Strauß – Delirien-Walzer Op. 212
5. Johann Strauß – Die Fledermaus: Ouvertüre
Die Fledermaus(The Flittermouse or The Bat, sometimes called The Revenge of the Bat) is an operetta composed by Johann Strauss II to a German libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée, which premiered in 1874.
6. Johann Strauß – Beliebte Annen-Polka, Op 137
7. Johann Strauß – Vergnügungszug: Polka schnell
Vergnügungszug (Pleasure Train), op. 281 is a polka composed by Johann Strauss II in 1864. It was written for the Association of Industrial Societies’ Ball held in the Redoutensaal on 19 January 1864 and was inspired by the opening of the Austrian Southern Railway – the Südbahn – which operated many ‘pleasure trains’ offering trips from Vienna to the countryside.
8. Johann Strauß – Pizzicato Polka
The Pizzicato Polka is a piece of orchestral music by Johann Strauss II. Strauss composed it with his brother Josef in 1869 for a trip to Imperial Russia. It was published in 1870.
10. Johann Strauß – Perpetuum Mobile, Musikalischer Scherz
Perpetuum mobile as a genre of separate musical compositions was at the height of its popularity by the end of the 19th century. Such pieces would often be performed as virtuoso encores, in some cases increasing the tempo along with the repeats.
Perpetual motion is a motion that continues indefinitely without any external source of energy. This is impossible to ever achieve because of friction and other sources of energy loss. A perpetual motion machine is a hypothetical machine that can do work indefinitely without an energy source. This kind of machine is impossible, as it would violate the first or second law of thermodynamics.
11. Johann Strauß – Unter Donner und Blitz (Under Thunder and Lightning), Quick Polka Op. 324
Unter Donner und Blitz (Under Thunder and Lightning) is a quick polka by Johann Strauss Sohn (op. 324). The work was first performed on February 16, 1868, in the Dianabad Hall in Vienna.
The polka was written for the carnival ball of the Hesperus Artists’ Association and premiered at this event on February 16, 1868, in the Dianabad hall. In the work, the composer musically describes a summer thunderstorm. To this day it is one of the best-known and most popular compositions by Johann Strauss (son).
It is often heard at the New Year’s concerts of the Vienna Philharmonic or is often played as interlude music in the second act of the operetta Die Fledermaus (instead of the dance music actually intended at this point).
12. Johann Strauß – Frühlingsstimmen “Voices of Spring”: Walzer (Kathleen Battle, Soprano)
“Frühlingsstimmen”, Op. 410 (“Spring’s Voices,” or commonly “Voices of Spring”; sometimes sung in Italian as “Voci di primavera”) is an orchestral waltz, with optional solo soprano voice, written in 1882 by Johann Strauss II.
Strauss dedicated the work to the Austrian pianist and composer Alfred Grünfeld (1852-1924). The famous German coloratura soprano Bertha Schwarz (stage name Bianca Bianchi, 1855-1947) sang this concert aria at a grand matinée charity performance at the Theater an der Wien in aid of the “Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth Foundation for Indigent Austro-Hungarian subjects in Leipzig”.
13. Josef Strauß – Ohne Sorgen! Polka schnell, Op. 271
In 1869, Josef Strauss spent the summer together with his brother Johann in Pavlovsk near St. Petersburg. When he recovered from an illness he wrote a particularly fast-paced fast polka and gave the work the title: ‘Ohne Sorgen!’ (Without worries).
It is not to be noted from the exuberantly cheerful composition, from which distress it originated. Josef Strauss wanted to be lively and intoxicatingly optimistic. It was premiered on the 10th of September, 1869 in Pavlovsk, and in this polka, even the musicians had to laugh (ha, ha, ha) as if the whole world was actually “Ohne Sorgen!”
14. Johann Strauß – The Blue Danube (An der schönen blauen Donau)
Probably the most famous waltz ever written, the piece was composed in 1866 and first performed in February 1867. Since then, it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire, despite the initial performance being considered only a mild success. The waltz is traditionally broadcast by all public-law television and radio stations exactly at midnight on New Year’s Eve, and on New Year’s Day, it is a customary encore piece at the annual Vienna New Year’s Concert.
German composer and pianist Johannes Brahms was also a fan of the piece: when Strauss’s stepdaughter, Alice von Meyszner-Strauss, asked Brahms to sign her autograph-fan, he wrote down the first bars of The Blue Danube, but adding “Leider nicht von Johannes Brahms” (“Alas! not by Johannes Brahms”).
15. Johann Strauss I – Radetzky March, Op. 228
Radetzky March, Op. 228, is a march composed by Johann Strauss Sr. in 1848. It was dedicated to Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz (1766-1858) and soon became quite popular among regimented marching soldiers. It has been remarked that its tone is more celebratory than martial; Strauss was commissioned to write the piece to commemorate Radetsky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza.
Kathleen Deanna Battle (born August 13, 1948) is an American operatic light lyric soprano known for her light voice and silvery, pure tone. Born in Portsmouth, Ohio, Battle initially became known for her work within the concert repertoire through performances with major orchestras during the early and mid-1970s. She made her opera debut in 1975. Battle expanded her repertoire into lyric soprano and coloratura soprano roles during the 1980s and early 1990s until her dismissal from the Metropolitan Opera in 1994.
- Kathleen Battle on Wikipedia
- The Blue Danube on Wikipedia
- Annen Polka, Op.117 on the Edition Silvertrust website
- Polka schnell on the Baton Music website
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