This is one of the long series of New Year's Day concerts from Vienna. It follows the usual and well-tried format, and on this occasion delivers rather more than the usual very reliable level of enjoyment. This may not come as too much of a surprise as Welser-Most's Viennese credentials have been recognised and supported by a major bank in Upper Austria for over 25 years as a cultural envoy for upper Austria. This level of commitment to Welser-Most is more than justified by this particular release.
Right from the start Welser-Most judges both the occasion and the feel of the music perfectly and chooses the perfect tempo, crucial to dance music, with unerring accuracy. On this occasion there are six works performed that have a family connection with the conductor. These are explained in the informative booklet supplied with the disc. Other items of unusual interest are the Mephisto Waltz by Liszt plus Hellmesberger II's Zigeunertanz.
The whole concert is infused by an unusual level of sheer joy. This is clearly felt by the whole audience who give prolonged and rapturous applause at the end. The players equally respond with enthusiasm and their customary skill giving Welser-Most the accolade of their own applause at the end too.
The recording by the highly experienced Brian Large is particularly excellent with sympathetic camera work and crisp imaging which is shown to good effect on the Blu-ray format. The sound is presented in DTS and stereo formats.
The bonus items include the usual ballet sequences plus a resumé of the orchestra's 2010 Baltic cruise.
This is highly recommended therefore and could well be on a short list of the most successful of this popular series. It is hard to imagine future purchasers resisting its many charms so an easy 5 stars is merited by this disc in my opinion.
Several considerations seem to have guided the selection of items performed in the 2011 New Year Concert from Vienna. At least one was probably urged by the conductor, Franz Welser-Móst himself. It was at a Vienna dance hall, owned by the conductor's ancestor, that the 19 year-old Johann Strauss Jnr was given the opportunity to present some of his first compositions to the public, compositions included in this concert. Another consideration was the need to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Liszt's birth. Liszt's quirky Mephisto Waltz No 1 is included here; it shows what a very different musical mind Liszt had to that of Johann Strauss Jnr. All combine to make this New Year Concert as rich an entertainment as can be found anywhere in any year. There are some luscious waltzes (and one less so) and the dance sequences are notable for their perfect coordination with the music. And watch to see where the dancers end up at the conclusion of "The Blue Danube"!
An eagerly awaited release that did not disappoint. Although both progranmming and the conducting style attracted mixed reviews, I often unwind after a stressing day enjoying the joy of such beautiful music, in an elegant setting, and the ballet sequences were a particular delight this year.
AS USUAL IN ALL NEW YEAR CONCERTS, SOME INTERESTING WALTZES, POLKAS AND MAZURS ARE PRESENTED HERE. HOWEVER, APART FROM THIS, I DEDUCE PERHAPS SUBJECTIVELY THAT THIS CONDUCTOR HAD A LIKING FOR FAST TUNES. IN SPITE OF THIS, I FOUND HIS CONDUCTING MARVELLOUSLY EXCELLENT.
THERE ARE INTERESTING BONUS FEATURES ON THIS DISC TOO:- TWO ATTRACTIVE BALLET SEQUENCES AND A FEATURE OF THE VIENNA PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA TOUR TO EUROPE.
THE BLU RAY DISC WAS EXCELLENTLY MASTERED WITH PIN SHARP RESOLUTION, DEEP COLOUR SATURATION AND ACCURATE CONTRAST.
When Franz Welser Most had a brief flirtation with the London Philharmonic he was very unkindly dubbed "Frankly Worse than Most" (well orchestras are very bitchy !). When I watched this (in bed) on January 1st, 2011 my first reaction was "Frankly Better than Most !!!" Actually, I thought it was the best New Year's Day concert since the absolutely unique Karajan of 1987 and far more interesting. Apart from the obvious "bits" I had never heard most of the pieces before. I was frustrated by the sound on the bedside TV so immediately booked the DVD.
The Vienna Philharmonic is a very moody orchestra, especially on New Year's Day when they are hungover, and they do not like all of their conductors, by a long chalk! I haven't asked them, of course, but they seem to like Franz. And that is important. It is supposed to be a happy occasion not a chore. This is my second favourite New Year's Day concert and by far the most interesting programme.
The New Year's Day Concert is becoming quite a "Test Piece." Obviously, the orchestra can play this stuff in their sleep - and often do ! So can a conductor add anything to the occasion ? I think Welser Most does. I can't say "buy it." But, if you do, I don't think you will regret it.
Came on time. Stunning pictures in HD (as blu ray). Used to record these concerts on sky plus, but no way of getting the recording (in HD anyway) onto another media and every now and then the sky box crashes (the last one only lasted 18 months) and you loose your recordings. Hence I bought it.
Have purchased every years DVD/Blue Ray disc of the New Year's Concerts from Vienna, this is by far the best for sound reproduction. Almost all of the individual orchestral instruments can be heard clearly. The ballet scenes, I feel, should have been shown during the performances as was the case in previous years. The overall programme deviated slightly from previous years with an inclusion of Panorama from "Sleeping Beauty". This was a welcomed changed together with other works by composers other than the Strauss Family. I have travelled on the train, which appears on one of the Bonus Features, during winter - a most wonderful experience.