This year's concert was indeed quite a memorable occasion with the charismatic Seiji Ozawa at the helm of the Vienna Philharmonic in some wonderfully chosen repertoire. The grace and élan of the music is superbly captured in this crystal clear rendering of the whole concert in a specially produced cut by that inimitable guru, Brian Large. The effect of a packed Musikverein and the Vienna Philharmonic making music with a relaxed and utterly unbuttoned conductor makes for an impressive and highly entertaining audio-visual experience.
The concert centred chiefly on the Strauss family but there were also some unusual numbers such as the "Vorwarts" Polka and Hellmesberger's delightful "Danse Diabolique". The staple repertoire is also very well done and the shots of various members of the orchestra intermingled with some judiciously spliced scenery is quite overwhelmingly beautiful. As if that were not enough, we are also treated to three special features featuring the famous Vienna Ballet School, the celebrated Spanish Horses and picture galleries.
I would rate this as one of the best DVD packages in recent months and would urge all followers of this annual appointment to snap up and begin enjoying the feast! Prosit Neujahr!
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech