The Vienna New Year’s Concert (Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker) is an annual concert of classical music performed by the Vienna Philharmonic on the morning of New Year’s Day in Vienna, Austria. The concert occurs at the Musikverein at 11:15. The orchestra performs the same concert programme on 30 December, 31 December, and 1 January but only the last concert is regularly broadcast on radio and television.
The concert programmes always include pieces from the Strauss family—Johann Strauss I, Johann Strauss II, Josef Strauss and Eduard Strauss. On occasion, music principally of other 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 Carl Michael Ziehrer has featured in the programmes. In 2009, music by Joseph Haydn was played for the first time, where the 4th movement of his “Farewell” Symphony marked the 200th anniversary of his death. Other European composers such as Hans Christian Lumbye, Jacques Offenbach, Émile Waldteufel, Richard Strauss, Verdi, and Tchaikovsky have been featured in recent programmes.
New Years Concert in 1958 with conductor Clemens Kraus:
The announced programme contains approximately 14-20 compositions, and also three encores. The announced programme includes waltzes, polkas, mazurkas, and marches. Of the encores, the unannounced first encore 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’s greeting from the conductor and orchestra to the audience. The final encore 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.
“Goldener Saal” (Golden Hall) of the Musikverein
The concerts have been held in the “Goldener Saal” (Golden Hall) of the Musikverein since 1939. The television broadcast is augmented by ballet performances in selected pieces during the second part of the programme. The dancers come from the Vienna State Ballet and dance at different famous places in Austria, e. g. Schönbrunn Palace, Schloss Esterházy, the Vienna State Opera or the Wiener Musikverein itself. In 2013, the costumes were designed by Vivienne Westwood. From 1980 until 2013, the flowers that decorated the hall were a gift from the city of Sanremo, Liguria, Italy. In 2014, the orchestra itself provided the flowers. Since 2014, the flowers have been arranged by the Wiener Stadtgärten. In 2017, the orchestra performed for the first time in new attire designed by Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler.
Vienna Philharmonic at the rehearsal, Felix Weingartner is conducting.
Engraving by Ferdinand Schmutzer (1926)
There had been a tradition of concerts on New Year’s Day in Vienna since 1838, but not with music of the Strauss family. From 1928 to 1933 there were six New Year’s concerts in the Musikverein, conducted by Johann Strauss III. These concerts were broadcast by the RAVAG. In 1939, Clemens Krauss, with the support of Vienna Gauleiter Baldur von Schirach, devised a New Year’s concert which the orchestra dedicated to Kriegswinterhilfswerk (‘Winter War Relief’), to improve morale at the front lines. After World War II, this concert survived, as the Nazi origins were largely forgotten, until more recently.
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 31 December of that year. It was called then a special, or ‘extraordinary’ concert (Außerordentliches Konzert). Johann Strauss II was the only composer performed, in a modest program:
“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
“Perpetuum mobile”, ein musikalischer Scherz, Op. 257
Ouverture to the operetta Die Fledermaus
There were no encores in 1939, and sources indicate that encores were not instituted until 1945. Clemens Krauss almost always included “Perpetuum mobile” either on the concert or as an encore. The waltz The Blue Danube was not performed until 1945, and then as an encore. The Radetzky March was first performed in 1946, as an encore. Until 1958, these last two pieces were often but not always given as encores. Since that year, their position as twin encores has become inviolable tradition, with two exceptions:
In 1967, Willi Boskovsky made the Blue Danube part of his concert program.
In 2005, Lorin Maazel and the orchestra concluded the program with the Blue Danube, omitting the Radetzky March as a mark of respect to the victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. One unannounced encore is always placed before the Blue Danube, and after the final announced work on the printed concert programme. (wikipedia)
The labels from the vinyl edition:
Few concerts can claim to generate such tremendous international interest as the New Year’s Concert from Vienna. Under the baton of the world’s leading conductors, the Vienna Philharmonic rings in the New Year with a gala concert from the magnificent setting of the Golden Hall in Vienna’s Musikverein. The event is broadcast to over 90 countries all over the world and watched by more than 50 million viewers.
The 2017 New Year’s Concert is conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, the youngest ever conductor to lead this event. The 35-year-old is celebrated as the “young blood” (Die Presse, Austria) in the classical scene, and his comet-like ascent to the top tier of conductors has been unique. He has now established himself as one of the leading and most celebrated conductors of his generation.
Under Dudamel’s baton, performances become exceptional experiences full of energy and passion, with every bar brought to life; he is a conductor with a special place in today’s music scene. Although this performance will mark his debut at the New Year’s Concert, it is not his first concert with the Vienna Philharmonic. Dudamel has been a regular guest conductor of this world-class orchestra in Vienna and on tour. He performed with the orchestra for the first time in 2007, returned in 2010, and enchanted a wide audience at the 2012 Summer Night Concert in Vienna. Most recently, he opened the 2014 season at the Theater an der Wien as well as the traditional Vienna Philharmonic Week in Japan in the same year.
Gustavo Dudamel was born in 1981 in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, and started his musical education within the Venezuelan music youth program “El Sistema”. At the age of 15, he found himself on the podium of the nation’s flagship Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and was appointed Music Director in 1999. During his 18th season as Music Director of the entire El Sistema project, he continues to lead the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra in Venezuela, as well as on tour around the globe.
In every aspect of his work, Gustavo Dudamel is driven by a vision of music as a social force. Wherever he goes to conduct, Gustavo Dudamel strives to bring a social element to his work – whether guest-conducting youth orchestras, encouraging socially-motivated music projects, or ensuring that young people from disadvantaged communities have access to his concerts. (Press release)
This recording is from New Years 2017 with Gustavo Dudamel. In a word fantastic!. I started listening to the various pieces, and was utterly gobsmacked at the quality of play, the beautiful and evocative pieces and the expected end (Blue Danube, Radetsky March).
This is an excellent recording. I actually enjoy live recordings with audience clapping (though minimized here at the end of pieces) because it adds some flavor to the proceedings. There are just some great pieces of music here and this is not the abridged version we see on PBS but a fun concert over 2 hours long.
Wonderful and what a way to welcome in a New Year. Frankly, you can try to go to Vienna and see this live, but there are hundreds of thousands of fellow enthusiasts who dream the dame dream and won’t win the lottery for tickets.
This is a pretty close thing to get. Highly recommended. (by Narut Ujnat)
Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Gustavo Dudamel
Andreas Großbauer (violine)
Ernst Ottensamer (clarinet)
Vienna Boys conducted by Johannes Prinz
01. Nechledil-Marsch (Lehár) 2.33
02. Les Patineurs Op. 183 (The Skaters) (Waldteufel) 7.46
03. ’s gibt nur a Kaiserstadt, ’s gibt nur a Wien Op. 291 (There’s Only One Imperial City, There’s Only One Vienna) (Strauss II) 3.42
04. Winterlust Op. 121 (Winter Joy) (J.Strauß) 2.37
05. Mephistos Höllenrufe Op. 101 (Mephisto’s Calls From Hell )(Strauss II) 7.53
06. So ängstlich sind wir nicht! Op. 413 (We’re Not That Worried) (Strauss II) 2.12
07. Pique Dame: Ouvertüre (v.Suppé) 7.40
08. Hereinspaziert! Op. 518 (Step Right Up!) (Ziehrer) 7.33
09. Mondaufgang („Mondchor“) (Moonrise) (Nicolai) 4.33
10. Pepita-Polka Op. 138 (Strauss II) 3.31
11. Rotunde-Quadrille, Op. 360 (Johann Strauss II) 5.02
12. Die Extravaganten Op. 205 (Strauss II) 7.24
13. Indianer Galopp Op. 111 (Indian Galop) (Strauss I) 2.14
14. Die Nasswalderin Op. 267 (The Girl from Nasswald) (J.Strauß) 5.55
15. Auf zum Tanze! Op. 436 (Let’s Dance!) (Strauss II) 3.02
16. Tausend und eine Nacht Op. 346 (One Thousand and One Nights) (Strauss II) 8.19
17. Tik-Tak Polka Op. 365 (Strauss II) 2.27
18. Mit Vergnügen Op. 228 (With Pleasure) (E.Strauß) 2.02
19. Neujahrsgruß von Gustavo Dudamel (New Year’s Address by Gustavo Dudamel) / An der schönen blauen Donau Op. 314 (The Blue Danube) (Strauss II) 10.21
20. Radetzky Marsch Op. 228 (Strauss I) 3.13