Various Artists

Ultimate Strauss Family

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If one disc of waltzes, marches, and polkas by the Strauss family is too little and all their waltzes, marches, and polkas are too much, this five-disc Decca set should be just enough. Featuring former concertmaster turned waltz master Willi Boskovsky on the podium and the Wiener Philharmoniker in the pit, these performances are elegantly conducted, stylishly played, and idiomatically performed. Boskovsky knows exactly how to phrase a theme, accent a rhythm, and bend a tempo to keep the music eminently danceable. The Viennese players respond to him and the music with an effortless enthusiasm and appealing affection that make their performances nearly impossible to resist. The program includes 73 separate works from the justly famous Blue Danube and Emperor Waltzes to the nearly unknown Letter to the Editor to the "Seid umschlungen, Millionen!" (a take-off on the closing chorale of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony). Recorded in rich, warm stereo sound in the '60s and '70s, this set is the way to go for middle-of-the-road Strauss fans.

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