Generally regarded as pre-eminent in a long series of recordings of the annual New Year Concert from Vienna is this CD providing seventy minutes of highlights from the 1987 concert where the conductor was Herbert von Karajan and the soprano soloist was Kathleen Battle. The latter, with the courage of a tightrope walker without a safety net, succeeds easily with the daunting eight-minute test Johann Strauss Jnr provided in his vocal waltz "Fruhlingsstimmen". The waltz is performed uncut, and conductor and singer vary dynamics and tempi in perfect accord throughout. Karajan reveals some of the darker hues and frenetic jollity in the Josef Strauss items, he underlines some of the sweetness and exuberant energy in the Johann Strauss Jnr items, and if the audience's participation in the father's "Radetzky March" is not as disciplined as we sometimes hear each new year, it still provides a rousing finale.
It may be hard to find and highly priced in 2002, but this is one CD you will never regret adding to your collection.