The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Are you ready for the “New Year’s Day From Vienna” concert on radio and TV on Tuesday. Waltz meister Andre Rieu discusses the allure of the dance that made him famous –- and the dance we greet the New Year with.

December 30, 2012

By Jacob Stockinger

The Ear suspects that many of this blog’s readers don’t take Waltz Meister Andre Rieu (below) very seriously as a classical musician. And you can understand why, given all the shmalz, schlock and PBS fundraisers he is known for.

Andre Rieu

Yet the indisputable fact remains that Andre Rieu — a violinist, conductor and audience-friendly, Lawrence Welk-like showman extraordinaire — is an extremely popular and gifted musician, one of today’s heirs of Johann Strauss.

And there is no denying the classical status of the waltz, a dance that was often used by Carl Maria von Weber, Schubert, Chopin, Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and so many other major classical composers. And the list grows enormously if you add other dance forms that are close to the waltz in its peasant origins and then in its morphing into an aristocratic dance form, probably perfected in Vienna (below).

Waltzing in Vienna 1

And let’s not forget the news peg.

This week, on Tuesday, we celebrate the New Year – the coming of 2013.

That means another audience favorite, that compilation of classical pop hits known as “New Year’s Day From Vienna: 2013” that will air again on National Public Radio (and Wisconsin Public Radio) on Tuesday morning at 10 a.m. CST; and then again on PBS TV (and Wisconsin Public Television) on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.

This year’s version of the famous concert celebration that started in 1939 once again features the Vienna Philharmonic playing in its home, the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna (below).

Golden Hall in Vienna

The guest conductor this year is Austrian-born Franz Welser-Most (below top), the controversial maestro who heads the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra. The TV host again is Julie Andrews (below bottom).

Franz Welser Most

Julie Andrews 3

Here is a link with more information including a play list that includes not only the Strauss family (Josef, Johann Sr. and Johann Jr.) but also von Suppe, Verdi and Wagner. 2013 marks the bicentennials of Verdi and Wagner.

Here is a link to the radio broadcast notes:

And here is a link to the TV broadcast notes:’s-celebration-2013/about-the-concert/1478/

And here is Andre Rieu on the power of the many waltzes that will once again captivate a huge worldwide audience:

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