You might think you are getting a sneak preview at the start of this concert. Surely the orchestra is drunk and is having fun with the march and the waltz that traditionally conclude this annual event! Not so! The opening item is in fact jointly composed by Johann and Josef Strauss in which they recall their father's "Radetzky March", and in the second item Johann Strauss weaves many threads taken from "An der schonen blauen Donnau". And so the fun continues. The Vienna Boys' Choir provides some gratuitous vocal colour, the conductor demonstrates how to play a couple of anvils, many rarely used percussion instruments are deployed, non-Viennese composers Tchaikovsky and Lumbye get into the act, and there are the expected ballet sequences and views of the audience, the floral decorations and the glorious interior of the Musikverein, Vienna.
A proportion of the program comprises premier inclusions at this annual event - six numbers here, I believe. Optional repeats in the waltzes are usually omitted, allowing for as many as 23 items to comprise the program. Whereas earlier CDs and DVDs provide only 80 or 90 minutes, the duration here is 145 minutes.
Jansons coaxes luscious sounds from the orchestra, setting slower tempi than usual except in the "Carmen Quadrille". Amongst the orchestra personnel you won't see many familiar faces this time. In the audience you'll easily recognise Julie Andrews.
What will bring a smile to your lips or a tear to your eye may vary from person to person. For me it's been two items by Josef Strauss: "Delirien" and "Brennende Liebe".