COMPOSERS: Johann Strauss II
PERFORMER: Vienna PO/Willi Boskovsky
CATALOGUE NO: 443 473-2 ADD (1958-76)
Vienna Philharmonic concertmaster Willi Boskovsky succeeded Clemens Krauss as director of the annual homage to the ‘Waltz King’ in 1954, leading the concerts violin in hand, thus restoring the tradition of Johann Strauss himself. Under his direction, the New Year’s Day Concert became a universally beloved institution, largely thanks to live television relays, though Boskovsky and the orchestra also recorded this repertoire extensively for Decca.
These reissues sample typical New Year fare, taped without audience intervention in Vienna’s Musikverein and Sofiensaal between 1958 and 1976. The performances, it need hardly be said, are legendary, but their sound occasionally betrays its age in these transfers, with tape hiss sometimes distractingly evident. Michael Jameson