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  • Sony Classical Releases the 2019 New Year's Concert With the Vienna Philharmonic & Christian Thielemann Album Available Now
  • Jan 08, 2019

NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Sony Classical is pleased to announce the release of the recording of one of the world’s most famous classical music events: the 2019 New Year’s Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of renowned conductor Christian Thielemann. The live recording is available now digitally and on CD. The DVD and Blu-ray will be available March 1, 2019.

There are few concerts in the world that are awaited with as much excitement as the New Year’s Concert from Vienna. Under the baton of the world’s leading conductors, the Vienna Philharmonic ushers in the New Year with a concert in the magnificent Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein. The concert is relayed to over ninety countries all round the world, reaching an audience of more than fifty million.

The 2019 New Year’s Concert will be conducted for the first time by Christian Thielemann. A native of Berlin, Thielemann has been a regular and welcome guest of the Vienna Philharmonic since 2000, with the result that his first New Year’s Concert may be seen as setting an example and providing an appropriate tribute to his previous work with the orchestra. According to the orchestra’s chairman, Daniel Froschauer, orchestra and musicians trust each other completely: “The profound musical understanding and trust that have existed from the outset and that have always functioned perfectly have subsequently borne remarkable fruit in the symphonic repertory as well.”

Christian Thielemann took up the post of general music director in Nuremberg in 1988 after previous appointments at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin as well as in Gelsenkirchen, Karlsruhe, Hanover and at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf. In 1997 he returned to the Deutsche Oper in his native Berlin as the company’s general music director. From 2004 to 2011 he was the music director of the Munich Philharmonic and in 2012 he was appointed principal conductor of the Dresden Staatskapelle. Since 2013 he has additionally been artistic director of the Salzburg Easter Festival and in 2015 he was named music director of the Bayreuth Festival.

Among the milestones in his partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic, pride of place must go to a cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies. Conductor and orchestra worked on this project – Beethoven 9 – over a period of eighteen months before it was made available to an international public on DVD and Blu-ray in November 2010. The recordings were complemented by nine hour-long documentaries featuring Thielemann and Joachim Kaiser. Beethoven 9 was the first time that a Beethoven cycle had been released on Blu-ray.

The focus of Christian Thielemann’s work as a conductor remains the Romantic symphonic repertory associated with composers such as Brahms and Bruckner, together with the music dramas of Wagner and Richard Strauss, but he has also repeatedly demonstrated his familiarity with light music of the highest quality. For the New Year’s Eve Concert at the Dresden State Opera in 2017, for example, he conducted a programme of film music marking the centenary of the UFA production company. He has also enjoyed great success in the operettas of Franz Lehár, Emmerich Kálmán and others and has regularly been acclaimed for these performances by music critics the world over. “In operetta,” the conductor observes, “one can learn the art of slight and tasteful shifts of tempo.” It is important, he goes on, that these works “are performed with first-class forces”. With his name as a guarantee of success, Thielemann first demonstrated to impressive effect that he is at home in the music of the Strauß family at the opening of the 2008 Philharmonic Ball.

Among the works that will be heard at the 2019 New Year’s Concert is the Transactions Waltz by Josef Strauß. Its title could serve as a motto for the 150th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between Austria and Japan. Since 1987 the New Year’s Concert has been shown live on Japanese television. Among the works by Johann Strauß that Christian Thielemann is conducting are his Express Polka, his waltz Pictures of the North Sea, excerpts from his only fully-fledged opera, Knight Pázmán, and the overture to The Gypsy Baron. In addition to works by other members of the Strauß family, the concert also features music by Josef Hellmesberger (ii) and Carl Michael Ziehrer.

The story of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra can be traced back to 1842, when Otto Nicolai conducted a “grand concert” with “all the members of the Orchestra of the Imperial and Royal Court Opera Theatre”. This event is generally regarded as marking the birth of the orchestra. Ever since it was founded, the orchestra has been run by a democratically elected committee and is artistically, organisationally and financially independent. In the twentieth century its artistic profile has been shaped by such leading musicians as Richard Strauss, Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwängler and, after 1945, by three emeritus conductors, Karl Böhm, Herbert von Karajan and Leonard Bernstein. Since it was formed, the orchestra has given around 9,000 concerts in every part of the world. Since 1989 it has presented a Vienna Philharmonic Week in New York. A similar series of concerts has been held in Tokyo since 1993.

The tradition of presenting New Year’s Concerts began in 1941. The first concert marking the New Year was given in 1939, albeit on 31 December. The first conductor was Clemens Krauss. Willi Boskovsky took over in 1955 and conducted no fewer than twenty-five New Year’s Concerts between then and 1979. The list of musicians who have conducted New Year’s Concerts reads like a who’s who of leading maestros. The New Year’s Concert was first broadcast live on television in 1959. The Vienna Philharmonic regards this now traditional event as a way of wishing the world a Happy New Year through the medium of music in a spirit of hope, friendship and peace. Recordings of the New Year’s Concerts are among the most important titles on the classical music market, and Sony Classical is keen to make this release available to the widest possible international audience. The live recording of the 2019 New Year’s Concert was released on CD and as a download on January 7, 2019.  The DVD and Blu-ray will be available March 1.

2019 New Year’s Concert Program 

Carl Michael Ziehrer:

          Schönfeld March op. 422*

Josef Strauß:

          Transactions Waltz op. 184

Josef Hellmesberger (ii):

          Elfin Dance

Johann Strauß the Younger:

          Express, polka schnell op. 311**

          Pictures of the North Sea, waltz op. 390

Eduard Strauß:

Post-Haste, polka schnell op. 259

Johann Strauß the Younger: 

          Overture to the operetta The Gypsy Baron

Josef Strauß: 

          The Ballerina op. 227**

Johann Strauß the Younger:

          Artists’ Life, waltz op. 316

          The Bayadère, polka schnell op. 351

Eduard Strauß:

Opera Soirée, polka française op. 162**

Johann Strauß the Younger:

          Eva Waltz from the opera Knight Pázmán**

          Csárdás from the opera Knight Pázmán          

          Egyptian March op. 335

Joseph Hellmesberger (ii):

          Entr’acte Waltz**

Johann Strauß the Younger:

          In Praise of Women, polka mazur op. 310

Josef Strauß:

          Music of the Spheres, waltz op. 235

* Not previously performed at a New Year’s Concert

** Not previously performed by the Vienna Philharmonic

Sony Music Masterworks: Larissa Slezak | Jamie Bertel, 
[email protected] | [email protected] 

Christina Jensen PR
646.536.7864, [email protected]

SOURCE Sony Classical

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