Zubin Mehta / Wiener Philharmoniker

New Year's Concert 2015

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The institutions of classical music change and evolve, but the Vienna New Year's Concert presented by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, now in its 76th year, remains a pure tradition. That's not to say that there's no new music on the program. The 2015 concert includes five works never played at the concert before, but all are by members of the Strauss family, who as usual dominate the program, and they go to show the size of the unexplored waltz and polka repertory. The famed Zoroastrian conductor Zubin Mehta, approaching 80, was not heard so frequently anymore when this album appeared, less than a month after it was performed. He has conducted the program before, and he remains one of its most successful exponents, pushing the tempos in a way that fits with the festivity of the occasion in such pieces as Accelerationen, Op. 234 (track 8) and the following Electro-magnetische Polka, Op. 80, whose title shows how up-to-the-minute the music of Johann Strauss II was when it first appeared. The live recording, complete with German-language New Year's toast answered by the players, is one of the highlights of this series. Pick up a copy to have on hand for next New Year's Eve!

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