“Neujahrskonzert in Wien” dating from 1989, is a
companion piece to the same type of concert
discussed earlier. This 1989 concert featured
Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra, performing music of the Strauss family.
Like the other disc, this New Year’s Eve concert
on DVD featured 16 different works, at a running
time of slightly more than 90 minutes. However,
apart from the concluding “Blue Danube” and the
“Radetzsky March,” these were different polkas and
waltzes from those included in the 1992 concert.
In fact, nine of these works were new to me,
which was fine, because I could enjoy this lighthearted
fare and explore new repertoire! Oddities, such as
“Bei Uns Z’hause” and the “Moulinet Polka” were mixed
in with well-known favorites, such as the
“Die Fledermaus Overture” and “Voices of Spring.”
I can’t imagine better performances of these works.
Maestro Kleiber (1930-2004) led the perfect orchestra
for this music, capturing its lift and style in a manner
which was glorious to behold. Clearly, he loved this
music and lavished as much care on it as he would
a symphony by Beethoven or Brahms.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, Maestro Kleiber’s
conducting style was highly individual. It might have
been was unorthodox at times, but it made perfect
sense nonetheless. Perhaps he remains the most
fascinating conductor I’ve ever watched; a true
genius at the podium. It’s a terrible shame that he
didn’t record and conduct more often.
When I discussed the 1992 concert, I neglected to
mention that the Vienna Philharmonic Strings appeared
to be reduced by approximately one-third. In fact,
for this 1989 concert, the celli appeared to be reduced
by half! I counted six celli, and cannot fathom why
that was the case.
Once again, director Brian Large provided fine
camera work, and the venue was filled to capacity.
As with the 1992 disc, bonus features included
the trailer, “Carlos Kleiber: The Legend,” as well
as a catalog of other Deutsche Grammophon DVDs.
This disc offers an opportunity to watch a true “Maestro,”
paired with the ideal orchestra to perform these
Viennese classics, at one of the most famous concert
halls in the world. How can you go wrong? Two
informative essays which discuss Maestro Kleiber’s
career and the tradition of the New Year’s Eve concerts
are included in the accompanying booklet. This DVD
is not to be missed.