Having watched, like so many millions worldwide, this year's "New Year Concert" from Vienna, I was left with plenty of conviction that this edition was one of the best ever for many reasons.
With the choice of conductor falling on the octogenarian French maestro Georges Prêtre, this sparkling event was not only conducted for the first time by a French baton, but also crowned Prêtre's 45-year association with the Vienna Philharmonic.
The programme was indeed bubbling with a Gallic flavour from beginning to end, and apart from the usual pieces, Maestro Prêtre regaled us with no fewer than six premières, which added considerably to the festive nature of the occasion.
This splendid 2-CD set captures the 'joie de vivre' of this unique yearly bonanza in gorgeous sound quality and the infectious interpretations come through as fresh and bouncy as a clear spring morning.
This is an album which is bound to inject joy and happiness even when we seem to feel amiss in our daily goings on. I will certainly go back to it as often as the situation warrants.
Copyright © 2008, Gerald Fenech