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New Year's Concert 2008 / Georges Prêtre, Vienna Po


Release Date: 02/12/2008 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001061102   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.Josef StraussJohann Strauss Sr.J. "Pepi" Hellmesberger,   ... 
Performer:  Georges Prêtre
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



NEW YEAR’S CONCERT 2008 Georges Prêtre, cond; Vienna P; Vienna St Op Ballet 1 DECCA B0010611 (2 CDs: 109:52); DECCA B0010693 (DVD: 145:00) 1 Live: Vienna 01/01/2008


J. STRAUSS II Napoleon March. Orpheus Quadrille. Indigo and the Forty Thieves. Enjoy Life Waltz. Artistic Trifle Polka. Tittle-tattle Polka. Russian March. The Parisienne Polka. Emperor Waltz. The Bayadere Polka. On the Beautiful Blue Read more Danube. J. STRAUSS I Paris Waltz. Chinese Galop. Versailles Galop. Radetzky March. Josef STRAUSS Village Swallows from Austria. The Dragonfly Polka. Sport Polka. HELLMESBERGER Galopp. LANNER Court Ball Dances Waltz


I wonder if Clemens Krauss, when taking the podium for the inaugural New Year’s concert in Vienna on that last day of December 1939, knew what a moneymaking cow he was creating. Of course it took a while to get established (we didn’t even have the Blue Danube and Radetzky March as standard encores until 1958) and Krauss dominated the conducting along with a couple of outings by Joseph Krips until 1955. That year saw the ascendancy of the Vienna Philharmonic’s concertmaster, Willi Boskovsky, to the conductorial throne, a position he would occupy until his last go round in 1979. Boskovsky was responsible for the formation of the modern New Year’s concert experience, and there are many recordings of his with the orchestra that testify to his way with the music of Johann Strauss, Jr., but it is Lorin Maazel, who, outside of Boskovsky, has conducted more of these concerts than anyone else since Krauss, who has brought the VP New Year’s series to the phenomenal worldwide success it has been, and yes, there is a lot of money involved. The concerts are broadcast via Eurovision all over the world; this practice really started around 1987 when, after a series of eight concerts by Maazel, the orchestra voted to start rotating the conductors, in part to allow a long-denied Herbert von Karajan a chance to take a turn. His recording is now of classic status (DGG), and also the only one to ever use a vocalist, the then young Kathleen Battle.


The list of conductors is most impressive since Karajan’s turn, and goes like this:


Claudio Abbado, 1988, 1991


Carlos Kleiber, 1989, 1992


Lorin Maazel, 1994, 1996, 1999, 2005


Zubin Mehta, 1990, 1995, 1998, 2007


Riccardo Muti, 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004


Nikolaus Harnoncourt, 2001, 2003


Seiji Ozawa, 2002


Mariss Jansons, 2006


Georges Prêtre, 2008


Daniel Barenboim will take over the reins in 2009. For the most part, these concerts and their subsequent recordings have produced some of the most idiomatic and wonderfully seductive Strauss (regardless of which family member) on record. My long time favorite with the orchestra, a delectable disc from the 1970s with Karl Böhm conducting, still remains the most beautifully played on disc. But aside from the odd CD here and there, these concerts are the place to go if you want the best of Strauss and the few other composers who show up every year. Of the above list, there are a few stinkers: Ozawa, Jansons, and Harnoncourt have no clue about this music, and seemed ill at ease in their performances. The others are superb (and one must have at least one of the Kleibers), but you can hardly go wrong with any of the others.


And this brings us at long last to the present issue. Georges Prêtre is no stranger to this orchestra; he was conducting at the Vienna State Opera as early as 1962 at the invitation of Karajan, and has appeared as guest conductor with the orchestra many times over the years. He is the first French conductor to lead the now-venerable New Year’s Concert, and I am happy to report that it ranks with the best done. Prêtre, as evident on the DVD release, is very, very comfortable in his role as conductor and as interpreter of this music, and like the most successful conductors, knows how and when to get out of the way of the orchestra. There are some novel Frenchified rarities on this program. The Napoleon March was created by Strauss II and dedicated to Napoleon III, Strauss siding with the French and English in the Crimean War. Strauss elder wrote the Paris Waltz for the 1838 season in the French capital. The work even quotes the Marseillaise , which was banned at the time. The Versailles Galop effectively pairs the woodwinds with the pizzicato strings. The tribute to Offenbach, Orpheus Quadrille , ends with a rousing performance of the famous “cancan.” The Parisienne by Johann the younger was written for a spring trip to Paris that he never got to take.


This is just a sampling of the particularly “French” aspects of this program, which is of course littered with the usual suspects found on the placards for this event. Especially welcome is a stunning performance of my favorite waltz, The Emperor , also the favorite of maestro Prêtre. The CDs for this event are selling at two-for-one, and Decca’s sound is spectacular, some of the best ever done for this concert. The DVD features PCM stereo and 5.0 DTS tracks. I listened to both, and I prefer (as almost always) the DTS surround, though I realize this is controversial in these pages. The PCM pretty much matches the CD issue, which is very fine indeed. There are a few bonus tracks on the DVD, giving three selections with the accompanying dance numbers that we are all so used to seeing on the PBS broadcasts. I must confess that it is revelatory hearing and seeing the entire concert without Walter Cronkite’s blabbering; he is sometimes appreciated, but I think after viewing this, the first time I have actually seen a DVD of this concert, I will get irritated from now on. It is also nice to watch the concert without being forced to see the dancing, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Georges Prêtre enjoy himself—he knows this music inside and out, and the orchestra really respects him.


So either way you go here, you cannot lose. Neither will break your wallet, and both provide immense enjoyment. If you are a Strauss or New Year’s Concert fan you must have this, as the appearance of Prêtre is an important historical occasion, but most of all you need it because of the superlative music-making.


FANFARE: Steven E. Ritter
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Works on This Recording

1.
Napoleon-Marsch, Op. 156 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1854; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
2.
Dorfschwalben aus Österreich, Op. 164 by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 13 Secs. 
3.
Laxenburger-Polka, Op. 60 by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
4.
Paris, Op. 101 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1837 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 56 Secs. 
5.
Versailler Galopp, Op. 107 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1839; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
6.
Orpheus-Quadrille, Op. 236 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1860; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 23 Secs. 
7.
Kleiner Anzeiger, Op. 4 by J. "Pepi" Hellmesberger
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 45 Secs. 
8.
Indigo und die vierzig Räuber: Overture by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 6 Minutes 58 Secs. 
9.
Freut euch des Lebens, Op. 340 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1870; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 9 Minutes 25 Secs. 
10.
Bluette-Polka, Op. 271 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1862; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
11.
Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op. 214 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 38 Secs. 
12.
Hoffballtänze, Op. 161 by Josef Lanner
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 8 Minutes 34 Secs. 
13.
Die Libelle, Op. 204 by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
14.
Russicher Marsch, Op. 426 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
15.
Die Pariserin, Op. 238 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1861; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 48 Secs. 
16.
Chineser Galop, Op. 20 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 1 Minutes 45 Secs. 
17.
Kaiser-Walzer, Op. 437 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 53 Secs. 
18.
Indigo und die vierzig Räuber: Die Bajadere, Op. 351 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1871; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 25 Secs. 
19.
Sport, Op. 170 by Josef Strauss
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1865; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
20.
An der schönen, blauen Donau, Op. 314 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1867; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 11 Minutes 2 Secs. 
21.
Radetzky March, Op. 228 by Johann Strauss Sr.
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 34 Secs. 
22.
Neujahrsgruss by Josef Strauss
Performer:  Georges Prêtre (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Georges Prêtre
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 01/01/2008 
Venue:  Live  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 0 Minutes 49 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 'You make me feel like dancing...  February 20, 2013 By James Carleton (Port Hueneme, CA) See All My Reviews "I'm gonna dance the night away.' Well, almost. It's only a couple of hours, and there is not much actual dancing at these concerts, but it is hard to listen to this music and not feel like taking a few turns around the floor. I've been collecting the CDs of these concerts for a while, and have enjoyed every one of them, but this is truly one of the absolute best of the bunch. Imagine: a Frenchman outdoing some of the best Germans and Austrians in this music! What is truly amazing to me about this particular set is that, aside from the now-obligatory encores, only about three of the pieces chosen by Maestro Prêtre are anything like "common", and yet he and the Vienna Philharmonic play it all as if they have played each one every week for many years. Curiously, the poorest played of them all is the workhorse "Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, which might be due to the unusual tempi in spots. Still, the percussionist ought to be able to come in on beat, whatever the speed. A very minor quibble, but it serves to highlight just how well the rest of the program is played. And the sound is very top drawer: almost as clear as if they were in the room with your stereo equipment. This might be my favorite of all, although it really is tough to choose, as they all are marvelous collections. But, if you have never bought one, and are wondering which to try first, this would be an excellent choice. Of course, so would Carlos Kleiber's 1989, or Welzer-Möst's 2013, or Jansons' 2012, which has vocalists on a couple of pieces, or... well, you get the idea: buy them all! But start with this one." Report Abuse
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