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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Have A Punk New Year!

Dear friends,

I will share with you today one tradition that was in my family ever since I can remember. It is connected - of course - to the New Year and to music. Every year, on the National Television - TVR1 - there would be a transmission, on the 1st of January, of the Vienna New Year's Concert. It would be somewhere around 11 or 12 o'clock so we would have time to wake up and eat breakfast and sit tight and watch the beauty of Vienna unfurl... I never missed it... well except the first year I was in Poland... they have a different tradition for the 1st of January: watching the sky jumping ;) So this year my awesome husband searched high and low to find a good transmission of the show and he managed to find one! :) I was so thrilled! Last year I could watch it as we were in Romania but this year I was afraid I would miss it as well. And I was so glad I did not miss it! It was wonderful! (me in one room and my husband in the next one, watching sky jumping ;))  fitting!) I shall tell you more about the Vienna New Year's Concert and I shall urge you to watch the recordings of it or try to see it on TV or online the next year ;) In Romania you can always see it on TVR1 or TVR Cultural and in Poland, this year, I watched it on TVP2 - Polish National Television.
The New Year's Concert of the Vienna Philharmonic (German: Das Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker) is a concert of classical music that takes place each year in the morning of January 1 in Vienna, Austria. It is broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of 50 million in 73 countries (as of 2012). 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, including Joseph Hellmesberger, Jr., Joseph Lanner, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Otto Nicolai (the Vienna Philharmonic's founder), Emil von Reznicek, Franz Schubert, Franz von Suppé, and Karl Michael Ziehrer. In 2009, music by Joseph Haydn was played for the first time: the 4th movement of his "Farewell" Symphony to mark the 200th anniversary of his death. 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 programme. 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 flowers that decorate the hall have been a gift from the city of Sanremo, Liguria, Italy.
"Großer Saal" (Large Hall) of the Musikverein
The concert was first performed in 1939, and conducted by Clemens Krauss. For the first and only time, the concert was not given on New Year's Day, but instead on December 31 of that year. It was called then a special, or extraordinary concert (Außerordentliches Konzert). Johann Strauss II was the only composer performed. The program of that first concert follows:
  • "Morgenblätter", Op. 279, waltz
  • "Annen-Polka", Op. 117, dedicated to Maria Anna of Savoy
  • Csárdás from the opera Ritter Pázmán
  • "Kaiser-Walzer", Op. 437
  • "Leichtes Blut", Polka schnell, Op. 319
  • "Ägyptischer Marsch", Op. 335
  • "G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald", Walzer, Op. 325
  • "Pizzicato-Polka"
  • "Perpetuum mobile", ein musikalischer Scherz, Op. 257
  • Ouverture to the operetta Die Fledermaus
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 event is televised by the Austrian national broadcasting service ORF – from 1989 to 1993, 1997 to 2009, and again in 2011 under the direction of Brian Large – and relayed via the European Broadcasting Union's Eurovision network to most major broadcasting organizations in Europe. On 1 January 2013, for example, the concert was shown on ZDF in Germany, France 2 in France, BBC Two in the United Kingdom, Rai 2 in Italy, La 1 in Spain, and TVP2 in Poland, among many other channels.
Outside Europe it is also shown on PBS in the United States (beginning in 1985, as part of the performing arts anthology Great Performances), CCTV in China since 1987, NHK in Japan since 1973, KBS in South Korea, and SBS in Australia. Since 2006, the concert has also been broadcast to viewers in several African countries (Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe). In Latin America the concert is shown in Chile by La Red, and in Guatemala, Ecuador and Bolivia. Indonesia's MetroTV broadcasts the concert although it is delayed by 4–5 days.
The concert is also broadcast live by many radio stations in Europe, the United States, and around the world.
Here was the Program of this year's concert:
Eduard Strauss
Helena Quadrille, op. 14

Josef Strauss
Olive Branch Waltz, op. 207

Johann Strauss, sen.
Caroline Gallop, op. 21

Johann Strauss, Jr.
Egyptian March, op. 335
Seid umschlungen, Millionen. Walzer, op. 443
Tempestuous in Love and Dance, Fast Polka, op. 393

-- Pause --
Johann Strauss, Jr.
Overture to the Operetta "Waldmeister"
Klipp-Klapp, Gallop, op. 466
Tales from the Vienna Woods, Waltz, op. 325

Josef Hellmesberger, Jr.
Vielliebchen, Polka française, op. 1

Josef Strauss
Bouquet Polka, Fast Polka, op. 188

Richard Strauss
Moonlight Music from the Opera "Capriccio"

Joseph Lanner
The Romantics, Waltz, op. 167

Josef Strauss
Teasing, Polka mazur, op. 262
Shenanigans, Fast Polka, op. 98

Leo Delibes
Variation dansée (Pizzicati) from the Ballet “Sylvia”

Josef Strauss
Dynamiden, Waltz, op. 173
Without a Care, Fast Polka, op. 271
 ***
There were a few surprises for me this year and they brought a huge smile upon my face:
  1. The first and most important - for me, at least - was seeing Julie Andrews again :) Needless to say that I am a huge fan of hers since I was a wee lass and saw Mary Poppins or The Sound of Music for the first time. She is one accomplished and beautiful and smart woman and she is a role model for me. The way she walks and talks and sings and hold herself straight through life is an example of how a true lady should be! My jaw just dropped when I saw her on the Vienna New Year's Concert transmission and I had a huge grin on my face and I was jumping up and down and up again and saying "It's Julie! It's Julie Andrews!" (clearly I would not be able to have a face to face confrontation with her and be a lady at the same time...). Even my husband heard me from next door, with his headsets on and watching the sky jumps! She returned for the fifth time to host the festive annual New Year’s celebration with the Vienna Philharmonic, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim from Vienna’s Musikverein - PBS broadcast.I was so happy watching her again - you could see how happy she was to be there, in the audience, listening to that beautiful music!
  2. The second surprise were the clothes that the ballerinas wore during the Vienna New Year's Concert. When I saw them the first time in the back of my head the idea of Vivienne Westwood began to bud. And then it was confirmed! "The legendary New Year's concert by the Vienna Philharmonic will get a high-fashion infusion this year when designs by Vivienne Westwood make an appearance during a ballet segment. The British designer, who is best known for her punk-inspired fashions, has created costumes and customized designs from her runway shows for a special dance performance by the Vienna State Ballet that will take place during an intermission of the concert, reports WWD. The outfits include a tweaked version of a silk taffeta dress from Westwood's Spring 2014 Gold Label collection as well as a black menswear ensemble. The intermission entertainment will also include a screening of a film that puts several of the red-headed fashion dynamo's designs front and center. The film features dancers from the company performing in a selection of Westwood creations from past and present, including some signature pieces like short tartan kilts, against the backdrop of Vienna's Palais Liechtenstein. The house's creative director (and Westwood's husband) Austrian-born Andreas Kronthaler noted, according to WWD, that the yearly event has been part of his holiday memories since childhood.
    The 2014 New Year's concert, taking place on January 1, will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim. As in past years, this 74th edition of the event will be shown on TV in over 80 countries." via I dunno about you ladies, but when you will see her wedding dresses collection your jaw will drop and you will want a dress like that, a dress that will make you feel like a princess/lady :)
    + the awesome ballet scenes of this year :) there was just one more time I remember the ballerinas coming in the Large Hall (and I was small back then!) and I was always wondering why they do not do that again. Well this year it happened again! :) And it was shorter performance but it touched my heart and made me remember of the last performance when that happened...
**I hope that one day you will drop by and tell me that you watched it also :) I did this post with all my heart and with a huge smile on my face remembering the music and the ballet... Not to mention that the scottish costumes made my jaw drop again and made me smile as they pranced foolishly in the palace - including the moment when one of the lads hit his head ;))) planned! of course ;) Please do try it once and pray let me know what you made of it. Maybe it will become your New Year tradition as well ;)**

Yours truly,
The Vienna New Year's Concert Lover - The LadyBug :)