Vienna New Year’s Concert

by C. I. Roman. 0 Comments

I know many who have goals you want to accomplish in the New Year, like lose weight, save more money; organize one’s life in a better way so as to give us more time with loved ones. How do we make these goals last beyond the first day of 2014? There are many articles and books that are published to help you accomplish them. However, my way is precisely not to make any resolutions instead I look forward to the New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic and let that start my year in an upbeat way away from the debacle that is Obamacare.

The New Year’s Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic is a concert of classical music that takes place each year in the morning of January 1 in Vienna, Austria (something to add to one’s bucket list). It is broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of 50 million in 73 countries.[u

The music always includes pieces from the Strauss family—Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss—with occasional additional music from other mainly Austrian composers. There are traditionally about a dozen compositions played, with an interval halfway through the concert and encores at the end. They include waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, and marches. Of the encores, the first is often a fast polka. The second is Johann Strauss II’s waltz The Blue Danube, whose introduction is interrupted by applause of recognition and a New Year greeting from the musicians to the audience. The last is Johann Strauss I’s Radetzky March, during which the audience claps along under the conductor’s direction. In this last piece, the tradition also calls for the conductor to start the orchestra as soon he steps onto the stage, before reaching the podium. The complete duration of the event is around two and a half hours.

The concerts have been held in the “Großer Saal” (Large Hall) of the Musikverein since 1939. The orchestra is joined by pairs of ballet dancers in selected pieces during the second part of the program. The dancers come from the Vienna State Opera Ballet and dance at different famous places in Austria, as Schönbrunn Palace, Schloss Esterházy, the Vienna State Opera or the Wiener Musikverein itself. Since 1980 the beautiful flowers that decorate the hall which add to the celebration have been a gift from the city of Sanremo, Liguria, Italy.

The concert is popular throughout Europe, and more recently around the world. The demand for tickets is so high that people have to pre-register one year in advance in order to participate in the drawing of tickets for the following year. Some seats are pre-registered by certain Austrian families and are passed down from generation to generation. The concert is also broadcast live by many radio stations in Europe, the United States, and around the world. But enough talk about the concert don’t take my word listen and judge for yourself.

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