Few conductors are as strongly associated with the Viennese waltz as Willi Boskovsky, who, in a long career of promoting light music through his popular New Year's concerts, endeared himself to millions as a modern-day "Waltz King." Of course, that title originally belonged to Johann Strauss II, the celebrated Viennese composer and innovative bandleader whose waltzes are presented by Boskovsky on this EMI Classics twofer. Among the selections here are the renowned On the Beautiful Blue Danube; Roses From the South; Vienna Blood; Voices of Spring; Tales from the Vienna Woods; An Artist's Life; Wine, Women, and Song; and 12 other memorable waltzes, played in authentic Viennese style by the Johann Strauss Orchestra of Vienna, Boskovsky's last orchestra before his retirement. These recordings date from the early to mid-'80s and were therefore recorded in EMI's fairly shallow but clean digital sound. However, with a fresh remastering in 2001, the music sounds reasonably full in tone and natural in its dynamics, though the orchestra seems to have little depth and resonance, and ears accustomed to contemporary digital sound will find the frequency range to be limited. Because this double-disc is a budget reissue, it is an affordable introduction to Strauss' music and worth having as a basic set of the most important waltzes. However, disappointed listeners and audiophiles will likely pay more for a better-sounding alternative.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
Track Listing - Disc 1
An der schönen, blauen Donau (On the Beautiful, Blue Danube), waltz for orchestra (with chorus ad lib), Op. 314 (RV 314)
Track Listing - Disc 2
Wein, Weib und Gesang (Wine, Women and Song), waltz for orchestra (with voice ad lib), Op. 333 (RV 333)