Meet André Rieu, party animal. The Dutch violinist with the big hair is best known for leading his Johann Strauss Orchestra in recordings and television broadcasts, but he is certainly no musical lightweight, having served as concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic, where the so-called light classics can be very serious business.
LIVE GALA EVENING shows Rieu at his lightest, in a full-length concert of traditional songs, waltzes, polkas, marches and opera medleys. It is a party album of a type popular in Bavaria and Austria, full of crowd noise, clapping and singing along. It's too bad that Rieu's stage patter was not included, as he is by turns ingratiating, droll and risqué, a verbal corollary to the music. The "Maastricht Salon Orchestra" is a small band, four strings and a piano, recorded in an unnamed venue, presumably in Maastricht, but obviously larger than a salon, as it requires that the instruments be amplified.