André Rieu / Johann Strauss Orchestra

Happy Days

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When he came on the scene in the 1970s in his native Netherlands, conductor/violinist André Rieu tried to become a modern-day "Waltz King," bringing Viennese music to a modern-day crossover environment. What made his music so popular is that he built intelligently on this foundation, incorporating popular styles of various kinds into the mix in a way that seemed natural. Happy Days, which marks Rieu's 70th birthday (the title simply refers in general to Rieu's career), surveys a range of these styles rather than focusing on a single theme. As such, it offers a mix of something like what might be heard in a Rieu concert, and it makes as good a place as any to start with this phenomenally popular artist for those who haven't encountered him before. Waltz, polka, and operetta are present, but they flow seamlessly into the likes of Happy Days Are Here Again. The mark American music has left on Rieu's presentations is apparent in instrumentally conceived pieces as well as songs; Leroy Anderson's Buglers Holiday allows Rieu to indulge his favorite device of turning his fine brass loose. Pieces come in various lightly sketched ethnic flavors. The album won't offer much that's new for confirmed Rieu fans, but even they may find that Rieu's Johann Strauss Orchestra has been honed over the years; among light music groups by now it's rivaled only by Mantovani's famous band. Whatever one thinks of Rieu, it's hard to argue that he's lost even a step.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Jazz Suite No. 2
1 03:53 Amazon
2 02:28 Amazon
3 04:10 Amazon
4 02:07 Amazon
The Merry Widow
5 05:03 Amazon
6 02:13 Amazon
7 03:33 Amazon
8 07:41 Amazon
9 02:39 Amazon
10 02:29 Amazon
11 02:21 Amazon
12 01:54 Amazon
The Gypsy Princess
13 03:26 Amazon
14 02:44 Amazon
15 02:59 Amazon
16 02:22 Amazon
The Gypsy Princess
17 03:50 Amazon
Countess Maritza
18 04:08 Amazon
19 03:52 Amazon
20 03:28 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick