New Year’s Day Concert 2022: The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra perform their traditional New Year’s Day concert. Petroc Trelawny hosts the traditional start to the year with a concert live from the golden hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. With a message of hope, friendship and peace, the VPO is directed by celebrated conductor Daniel Barenboim in an array of polkas, waltzes and gallops by the Strauss family and their contemporaries.
Furthermore, there are performances by the Vienna State Ballet in the rooms and grounds of Schonbrunn Palace, and an appearance by the world-famous Lipizzaner horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, performing to the Nymph Polka by Josef Strauss. The concert ends with the ever-popular By the Beautiful Blue Danube and the foot-stamping Radetsky March.
New Year’s Day Concert 2022
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.
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.
The Blue Danube
“The Blue Danube” is the common English title of “An der schönen, blauen Donau”, Op. 314 (German for “On the Beautiful Blue Danube”), a waltz by the Austrian composer Johann Strauss II, composed in 1866. Originally performed on 15 February 1867 at a concert of the Wiener Männergesangsverein (Vienna Men’s Choral Association), it has been one of the most consistently popular pieces of music in the classical repertoire. Its initial performance was considered only a mild success, however, and Strauss is reputed to have said, “The devil take the waltz, my only regret is for the coda—I wish that had been a success!”
After the original music was written, the words were added by the Choral Association’s poet, Joseph Weyl. Strauss later added more music, and Weyl needed to change some of the words. Strauss adapted it into a purely orchestral version for the 1867 Paris World’s Fair, and it became a great success in this form. The instrumental version is by far the most commonly performed today. An alternate text was written by Franz von Gernerth, “Donau so blau” (Danube so blue). “The Blue Danube” premiered in the United States in its instrumental version on 1 July 1867 in New York, and in the UK in its choral version on 21 September 1867 in London at the promenade concerts at Covent Garden.
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 on New Year’s Day Concert 2021.
Daniel Barenboim is a pianist and conductor who is a citizen of Argentina, Israel, Palestine, and Spain. The current general music director of the Berlin State Opera and the Staatskapelle Berlin, Barenboim previously served as Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris and La Scala in Milan. Barenboim is known for his work with the West–Eastern Divan Orchestra, a Seville-based orchestra of young Arab and Israeli musicians, and as a resolute critic of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.
Barenboim has received many awards and prizes, including seven Grammy awards, an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire, France’s Légion d’honneur both as a Commander and Grand Officier, and the German Großes Bundesverdienstkreuz mit Stern und Schulterband. In 2002, along with Palestinian-American scholar Edward Said, he was given Spain’s Prince of Asturias Concord Award. Barenboim is a polyglot, fluent in Spanish, Hebrew, English, French, Italian, and German. A self-described Spinozist, he is significantly influenced by Spinoza’s life and thought.
“Radetzky March”, Op. 228, is a piece of music composed by Johann Strauss Sr. and dedicated to Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz. First performed on 31 August 1848 in Vienna, it soon became popular among regimented marching soldiers. It has been noted that its tone is more celebratory than martial; Strauss was commissioned to write the piece to commemorate Radetzky’s victory at the Battle of Custoza.
Along with the Blue Danube waltz by Johann Strauss Jr., the piece became an unofficial Austrian national anthem. In 1932 Joseph Roth published his novel Radetzky March, chronicling the decline and fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Today, the theme is used in numerous promotional jingles and at major sporting events, in particular at football matches of the Austrian national team. Since 1896, the Radetzky has been the official presentation march of the Chilean Army’s Military School of the Liberator Bernardo O’Higgins. The 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards of the United Kingdom adopted the Radetzky March as its regimental quick march.
When it was first played in front of Austrian officers, they spontaneously clapped and stamped their feet when they heard the chorus. This tradition, with quiet rhythmic clapping on the first iteration of the melody, followed by thunderous clapping on the second, is often observed when the march is played in classical music venues in an orchestral version prepared by Leopold Weninger (1879–1940).
The Vienna Philharmonic, founded in 1842, is an orchestra considered to be one of the finest in the world.
The Vienna Philharmonic is based at the Musikverein in Vienna, Austria. Its members are selected from the orchestra of the Vienna State Opera. Selection involves a lengthy process, with each musician demonstrating their capability for a minimum of three years’ performance for the opera and ballet. After this probationary period, the musician may request an application for a position in the orchestra from the Vienna Philharmonic’s board.
In 2006, the Vienna Philharmonic was chosen as Europe’s finest orchestra in a survey of seven leading trade publications, two radio stations and a daily newspaper. In 2008, an international jury of music critics polled by the British Gramophone magazine ranked it third in the world (after the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic).
Subscription ticket demand for the Vienna Philharmonic at their home, Musikverein, is currently listed on the orchestra’s website as being subject to a waiting list—six years for weekday concert subscriptions, and thirteen years for weekend subscriptions. Casual tickets however, are available in small numbers and can be bought via links from the official website, to various ticket resellers.