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Author Topic: New Years Day Concert
Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 1, 2018, 19:49
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Well, the New Year's Day Concert didn't disappoint. In fact, this year was much better than last year. The music and floral arrangements were very traditional, which is what one expects from Vienna. Hugh Bonneville did a good job, but nobody can replace Julie Andrews.

I especially liked the way the producers mixed the usual ballet numbers with other views of Austria including the pieces on Otto Wagner, possibly the greatest exponent of Art Nouveau architecture, the wine village Gumpelskirchen and heuriger (pub for wine) and the history on Franz-Joseph and Karl.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 1, 2018, 20:14
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Most of the music was unfamiliar, though I do know the beginning of the Blue Danube Waltz and have a set of marches (performed by the New York Philharmonic and conducted by Leonard Bernstein) that includes the Radetzky March. Of course, the Danube isn't really very blue, except maybe near its source. (When the low-level American August 1943 bombing raid on Ploesti went over the Danube, one of the flyers noted that the river wasn't blue at all -- "It looks like the Colorado River at Moab.") Their views of the Danube didn't make it clear what the color is at Vienna, but I got the impression that it's already muddy.

Field Marshal Boroevic, commander of the Italian front (who had held off the Italians in the First through Eleventh Battles of the Isonzo), offered to march on Vienna to restore Karl to his throne, but someone in the emperor's entourage rejected the offer. The Allies would probably have allowed it anyway.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 1, 2018, 20:48
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Most of the music was unfamiliar

I hope you enjoyed it in any case.

I knew most of the pieces, but I like the fact that they through in a couple of less well know tunes every concert. I liked it that this year, those tunes were pretty traditional in musical structure.

the Danube isn't really very blue

No doubt, Strauss was using literary/musical license for the title. I have been on the Danube a number of times, once traveling from the river port outside Vienna to Budapest, and I saw nary a blue bit. It does move pretty quickly though.

While studying in Vienna, I made friends with a fellow who is still a friend. I spoke to him this morning to wish him a Happy 2018. I visited his family many times over the years and got to know not only his family, but a woman who was close to them. She was already in her 70's when I first met her and a better-natured individual you will never meet. In one of my many conversations with her, while discussing the monarchy, she mentioned that as a little girl, she had seen Kaiser Karl crossing a nearby bridge when going into exile. I found that pretty neat.

My friends lived in a border town and one could view Czechoslovakia and Hungary on a hill just a few kilometers outside of their town.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 1, 2018, 22:29
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Saw about a third of it. But saw the complete The Blue Danube and the finale. Nice fly over cinematography.

Timothy-
Lane
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Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 07:52
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I didn't see all of it either because I was watching Charade as well, and flipped between them. The last half hour of the movie was too good to switch back a bit, but it ended just before 10 pm and from then on I just watched the music show. This did enable her all of both the last two songs and see a lot of the sights, as well as bits and pieces of the earlier parts.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 09:00
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I thank Mr. Kung from the bottom of my non-daily-drama heart for bringing that piece of Vienna to us. What a beautiful city and country. I was doing some Google Mapping while watching and wondering what the hell…was there a dam on the Danube? In essence, yes. There’s some kind of hydropower plant. Boat traffic is diverted through a side channel.

And it blew me away that there were canals in Austria, shown during some of the flyovers. I’ve always pictured Austria as being in the mountains. Sure, a river might pass by, but there’s no way to have canals in the mountains, right?

Hugh was a fine host, I suppose. He gave it his best effort. Me thinks the conductor has become less a conductor these days and more the kind of eccentric that audiences expect. But I don’t really know. He may be a very fine conductor indeed and just adds some extravagance on top.

I just wasn’t in the mood for classical music last night. But what I heard was good. The gilded music hall was what one associates Vienna with. Baroque, right? Or just lots of wonderful gold and ornamentation. Close-ups of some of the violinists looked like they were using secondhand instruments, all worn and beaten. But I’m pretty sure those likely look that way because they are very old and valuable, and best not to mess too much with the finish.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 10:32
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Viewing the New Year's Concert keeps me in a good mood for at least a couple of days. Of course, it is somewhat personal with me as I studied in Vienna and attended both concerts and balls at the Musikverein.

The history connected with this venerable institution is great. Beethoven, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss (both the Austrian father/son duo and Richard) Mahler and Liszt are a few whose music was played here. Many also conducted their music here as well. The Vienna Philharmonic was founded by the Musikverein. And on and on.

The gilded music hall was what one associates Vienna with. Baroque, right? Or just lots of wonderful gold and ornamentation.

I would call it "Over-the-top Neo-Classical." Vienna had a huge surge of building after the old wall surrounding the city was torn down. The Musikverein's building is one of the edifices which sprang up during the second half of the 19th century. The Ringstrasse, the road which goes around the center of the city, is where the old wall stood. On both sides of it, one sees the many beautiful buildings constructed after the wall came down.

You are right as regards the instruments. These are workman's pieces, not for show. As to the sound, you could hear it yourself in the dulcet tones of the "Blue Danube."

Austria goes from the high Alps in the West to the flat plains of the Hungarian puszta in the East. The Danube enters Austria from Germany and flows down through Upper Austria, Lower Austria to Vienna and from their onward to Hungary. I guess the area outside Vienna is the least attractive part of the river in Austria. But even that area has its charms.

I think Annie would have enjoyed the concert.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 10:47
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Me thinks the conductor has become less a conductor these days and more the kind of eccentric that audiences expect. But I don’t really know. He may be a very fine conductor indeed and just adds some extravagance on top.

You are not so far off. I liked the way Muti conducted. I found it honest. Most of a conductor's work is done during rehearsals. I suppose Muti might have also chosen the pieces to be played. During the actual concert, he is to get the tune going, make sure all sections play together and modulate each. Here sometimes louder, there sometimes softer. Finally, he must insure everyone stops on the same beat.

Muti was obviously pleased with how things were going as he often stood there without waving his arms like deck officer on an aircraft carrier. I mentioned this to my wife during the concert.
Of course, there are times when a conductor is there to prevent disaster. One of my music professors used to speak about a concert he conducted, introducing a new soprano. He started conducting the orchestra and the soprano was so nervous that she started singing a few bars before she should have. Somehow, in the middle of the intro, my professor got the orchestra to skip a couple of bars and go straight to the place where the soprano was supposed to start singing. That would have been impossible without a conductor. According to my professor, they pulled this off without the audience being any the wiser.

Brad-
Nelson
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Brad Nelson
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 11:27
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Wow. Good example of what a conductor can do. And, as you said, if much is accomplished in rehearsal, perhaps a good conductor can just sit in his chair at times and watch.

Kung Fu Zu
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Kung Fu Zu
Post Re: New Years Day Concert
on: January 2, 2018, 12:19
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I recall my professor mentioning that the soprano immediately knew she had made a mistake and a look of panic/beseaching for help came to her eyes. Luckily, my professor did not panic and saved the day.

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