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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.

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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)
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on 11 February 2015
The 1st piece of music took up nearly the whole of the DVD. The scenes showing dancers on screen whilst the soloist was singing did no favours to either of them.
After viewing on Sky Arts the 2015 New Years Day concert by the same person I was impressed by the music and conducting and tried really hard to obtain a DVDs of that concert with no success, so had to settle for this one. I sadly regret buying this DVD of 2011 most disappointing.
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on 6 September 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this concert. The conductor (Kurt Masur) brings the choir, orchestra and soloists harmoniously together with the most minimum of directional gestures (no baton!) just very expressive hand movements. The three singers were a joy to listen to, especially Joseph Calleja, and the items selected were well in keeping with the traditional Viennese New Year Concerts, with works in 3/4 or 3/8 time. I found the Italian audience somewhat sedate for such a joyous occasion, but La Fenice Theatre with all its glitter and glanz makes a spectacular setting for this type of concert.

I could have done without the ballet sequences that bookend the concert and, because there are so few arias (the baritone only appears on stage once,) I would have welcomed another aria.

In all, my only gripe is that, at 55 minutes, (and with no 'extras') the DVD is very short. It must surely make up only the first (or second) half of the live broadcast concert.
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on 23 February 2017
A fantastic dvd arrived in the time said and was as described
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on 14 May 2016
they are always great
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on 2 February 2013
Amongst the many performances in Vienna New Year's concert, Maestro Jansons stunned for his higher mix of involvement, power, style & class.
His interpretation brings to the repertoire of this tradition a unique blend of expertise and impulse, it's able to enrich the tradition and to meet and satisfy the attention of the contemporary listeners.
A true lesson - a highly enjoyable show.
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on 12 September 2012
This a fantastic concert very enjoyable and full of good music very well put together boys choir very good.conductor puts his heart into the music
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on 30 January 2013
Got hooked on these concerts by recording them on sky+ in hd, but no way of making a permanent record.
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on 31 May 2013
Oh, what a joy to relive this concert in such a wonderful setting. Perfection indeed with both the music and dance.
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on 25 November 2012
Saw it on T.V. it was great I'm never disapointed in seeing these concerts on New Years Day when I'm at home all alone it lifts my spirits
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