If I'm not mistaken, most of the pieces were recorded originally live during a 1984 New Year's Concert conducted by Lorin Maazel with the Vienna Philharmonic playing in its grand concert hall, the Musikverein. Maazel and the Vienna Philharmonic have had a longstanding relationship dating from the 1960's, and without question, this CD does rank among my favorite New Year's Concert performances (However, the most mesmerizing ones I've heard have been those with the late Carlos Kleiber and Nikolaus Harnoncourt conducting.) for the superb quality of the Vienna Philharmonic's playing. Maazel leads the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in some of the most popular works composed by the Strauss family, most notably Johann II Strauss' Tales from the Vienna Woods Waltz, Emperor Waltz, Pizzicato Polka, Blue Danube Waltz and his father's Radetzky March, which traditionally closes out the annual New Year's Concert. Fans of the Strauss family, Vienna Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel, will not be disappointed with this excellent two CD compilation.
on June 28, 2011
I've heard half a dozen collections of Strauss waltzes, and this is easily the best of them. It is no surprise that the Vienna Philharmonic excels in this repertoire. The conductors are all well known, and serve the music well: Maazel (9 pieces), Karajan (7), Abbado (4), Boskovsky (3) and Bohm (1). Last but not least, these are all live recordings made at various New Years Day Galas in Vienna with copyright dates from 1973 to 1992. The occasion lends the Strauss waltzes the feeling and sparkle they need. [N.B. (note to Benny): there is a similar 2 disk Strauss compilation, Best of New Year's Concert in Vienna, that I haven't heard]
Contrary to an earlier review, the best known waltzes are on hand, and you get over 100 minutes of waltz music. The polkas and other short pieces are well chosen, and provide a good contrast in spirit and tempo. But the waltz is king here, and Strauss is king of the waltz: he has no real rival in this idiom. Listening to pieces like the Emperor Waltz, I marvel at his invention, how he piles on melody after melody, each complementing the preceding ones perfectly, adding up to a marvelous organic whole. It all goes down so easily and smoothly that you can forget how great it is.
on January 30, 2009
My favorite collection of perfectly choreographed Johann Strauss ll as well as his father Johann Strauss, and his brother Josepf. Johann ll gets top billing.
This is one of my better investments of the most beautiful music you will ever hear (waltzes and polkas).
I can't get enough. Highly Recommended! I have purchased many as gifts to family & friends.
on June 8, 2011
I am actually Austrian and needed farewell gifts for some very good friends. What would have been better than typical Viennese music by one of our best-loved composers and performed by the Vienna Philharmonic? But even if you have no connection to Austria, the CD is absolutely worth buying and LISTENING TO. The pieces are the most famous waltzes and polkas Strauss wrote and everybody knows them back home. Imagine driving through miles of empty coountryside or sitting on your porch with a glass of wine or in your favourite armchair listening to this kind of music! I might just go and do that now ....!
on October 7, 2002
This is great recording,
I enjoy listening to it
veru much. This is a
compilation of all the
favorite waltzes by
the Strauss family, that
one might hear at a
New Year's eve concert
of the Vienna Philharmonic...
All waltzes and Polkas are
favorites of audiences everywhere
in the world...
on October 12, 2015
Excellent to sit & listen to the fine music played with such fine instruments in this excellent orchestral version. If you like waltzes....Oh you ask what is a WALTZ? Well I guess it was done before your time. But if you can appreciate quality music played with REAL INSTRUMENTS & not SYNTHESIZURES, than you will relax & enjoy this CD! I consider it a must for your collection of Classic Music. AMAZON is one of the few places where they carry this CD & it's at a very good price $$$. Yes, I most wholeheartedly recommend this collection!
on August 15, 2014
A gentle and genteel float through a bygone time. The various conductors and orchestras know and clearly love this music, and they don't mess with it. It is played as written and not "reimagined" or similar 20th-century nonsense. Yes, we know the culture of the time masked the decay and often depravity of 19th century Vienna, but we don't CARE. Save the soul-searching, the recriminations, the excoriation of the Vienna of the times, and just enjoy the music.
on April 11, 2016
Wunderbar!!! The greatest of Strauss played in the finest way by his own countrymen. After listening to some of the greatest world orchestras that "try" to interpret Strauss, I can clearly recognize the ineffable finesse of these thoroughbred Austrian performances, which instinctively have the unique Viennese hesitation at the third beat, giving that delicious nuance that perfects the beauty of a Strauss waltz. The performances and the recording are simply superb.
on December 19, 2013
I loved all the songs on this album. You cannot go wrong purchasing this cd. I purchased it as gifts for friends. I could listen to this music every day, and so many of the pieces were familiar. The music is relaxing and beautiful as well. I enjoy all kinds of music, but this is one of my favorite albums.
on January 19, 2013
If you love Strauss waltzes, this is a must have album. It consists of the most popular waltzes as well as some of the more esoteric pieces, as well. Each of these performances by the Vienna Philharmonic is, in my opinion, unparalleled. The recording itself is also top notch - loud, clear, and with no distortion or noise. Some of these pieces are so well played, they will literally give you goosebumps. Just listen to Roses from the South and try to come away unmoved.