COMPOSERS: Lanner & Heuberger,Lehar,Suppé,Ziehrer
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Vienna Soirée
PERFORMER: Vienna PO/John Eliot Gardiner
CATALOGUE NO: 463 185-2
The lighter side of Gardiner, already exemplified in recordings of Chabrier and Lehár, is again on display in this Vienna Soirée of waltzes, galops and marches by composers other than the Strausses. But there is no let-up in the scrupulousness he brings to the music: Heuberger is treated as sensitively as Monteverdi in another context and the Vienna Philharmonic plays with no hint of condescension or of knowing better than its guest conductor. Lehár’s Gold and Silver is glitteringly done and his Ballsirenen waltz, a medley of Merry Widow melodies, finds Gardiner at his most engaging. Recording quality is excellent.
The New Year 2000 concert fills two discs with 18 items (and an awful lot of applause), all by the Strausses except Suppé’s Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna, which receives a cleaner performance on Gardiner’s disc, even though some may prefer Muti’s more lavish way with rubato. Apparently Josef Strauss’s Marien-Klänge waltz, written for a princess in 1867, has never before been played at a New Year concert. It is as good a reason as any to purchase these discs, unless you collect Blue Danubes and Wine, Women and Songs. Europhiles could adapt the Albion-Polka, dedicated by Johann II to Prince Albert. Michael Kennedy