Top positive review
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Another winner from Vienna with Jansons on a second appearance and on relaxed form
on 7 February 2012
This 2012 edition in the series of New Year's Day concerts from Vienna features the return of Mariss Jansons to the podium for the event after his earlier 2006 debut. On this occasion he seems more at ease and the sense of greater relaxation is an advantage. Generally he keeps things moving at a fairly brisk rate without ever being extreme. The orchestra play with their customary skill and panache.
The concert programme starts by including quite a number of less familiar items which provide an additional level of interest, even though the audience takes a little time to warm up to this selection. Once the final well-known items are included the responses become noticeably more enthusiastic. This is not surprising - it is New Year's Day after all and quality entertainment is the prime order of the day. As a further Viennese attraction there are two items featuring the Vienna Boys Choir.
Mariss Jansons has had links with both Vienna and Leningrad as part of his initial studies and this link is explored in no less than 7 items including a welcome first appearance of some Tchaikovsky at these concerts. There are further moments of variety on offer too with Jansons demonstrating his performing abilities on not just the railway guard's whistle and by ringing a clock but also, more demandingly, on a pair of anvils. Naturally this extra expertise is fully appreciated by the enthusiastic audience who are by now fully warmed up!
The recording team at Sony have produced spectacular imaging with a range of interesting aerial views of the performers as well as views from outside the concert hall which are inserted at points during the music. The sound in DTS is as fine as you could wish for. The concert is generous at just under 2 hours.
The bonus features are also generous and interesting and include three of the traditional ballet contributions. These can therefore be seen separately rather than superimposing them over the main concert presentation. The other bonus features the 'Philharmonics' group who play throughout a Mary 'Poppinsesque' guided tour of Vienna replete with magical flying characters. Very charming if a little far-fetched!
In summary then, 2012 is a satisfying addition to this recorded series of concerts and strays enough off the beaten path to add musical interest to the familiar. I would anticipate that this will give much satisfaction to future purchasers and therefore, in my opinion, this fully justifies a 5 star rating.
Some dialogue from the comments section that may offer further help:
Another Great Review, Ian!
Compared to the 2011 Neujahrskonzert, which had Imaginative Ballets by that brilliant Frenchman, Jean-Guillaume Bart, Beautiful Locations, and Gorgeous Costumes by R.O.H. Covent Garden, the 2012 Ballets were pretty dismal. Let's see what 2013 brings us! (U.K. review)