As the Chinese New Year approaches, the China NCPA Orchestra will present a concert themed, “Spring Festival Waltz” on February 9th at the NCPA Concert Hall. NCPA Music Artistic Director and well-known conductor LÜ Jia will select 11 of the most prestigious works by Johann Strauss II and his father, as well as their contemporaries Suppé and Offenbach, to lead the audience into an unparalleled world of waltz.
During the Classical and Romantic periods of music, the Viennese Waltz had become a source of inspiration for mainstream music composers of that time. Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert had all written waltzes; Berlioz had boldly used a waltz as part of his famous Symphonie Fantastique; Chopin had composed several waltzes for piano; and Tchaikovsky had put waltzes into his operas and ballets. While in the realm of waltz, the “protagonists” are the Strauss family, who have made the waltz the “pride of Vienna”.
Ravel’s La Valse is a celebration of Viennese Waltz. He once said this work was dedicated to Johann Strauss II. Richard Strauss, whose Der Rosenkavalier is full of waltz-like melodies, also paid special tribute to the creativity and talent of Johann Strauss II. He had said that while everyone else tended toward complexity in their compositions, Johann Strauss II was the only musician who was composing by spontaneous inspiration. The works of Johann Strauss and his father represent the essence of Viennese Waltz. Therefore, the “Spring Festival Waltz” concert on February 9th will feature their works including Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring), Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Freikugeln (Free-shooting Bullets), Kaiser-Walzer, Unter Donner und Blitz, “Csárdás” (from Ritter Pásmán), An der schönen blauen Donau (The Blue Danube), and Radetzky-Marsch (Radetzky March).
The Vienna New Year’s Concert, with waltzes by the Strauss Family as the core of its performances, has been an annual event for classical music fans around the world and has accompanied generations of Chinese music fans. By this year, the history of the Vienna New Year’s Concert has exceeded 80 years, during which there were many touching moments and memorable highlights, such as the moving Frühlingsstimmen (Voices of Spring) under Karajan’s baton, the gorgeous Unter Donner und Blitz conducted by Kleiber, An der schönen blauen Donau (The Blue Danube) by Seiji Ozawa after he said “Good New Year” in Chinese, and the “no applause version” of Radetzky-Marsch (Radetzky March) by Harnoncourt. This year, Riccardo Muti, who turned 80 and was conducting the Vienna New Year’s Concert for the fifth time, faced with empty seats for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he remained full of passion and brilliantly conducted the Kaiser-Walzer. The above-mentioned pieces will all be presented in the “Spring Festival Waltz” concert.
The China NCPA Orchestra will also render Suppé’s Leichte Kavallerie (Light Cavalry) overture and Dichter und Bauer: Ouvertüre (Poet and Peasant: Overture) as a tribute to Viennese operetta. In addition, Johann Strauss II once said that his compositions were inspired by Offenbach’s French operetta. Offenbach’s proudest work is Orpheus in the Underworld, in which the “Can-Can” is so fascinating that even non-classical music fans are attracted to it. Therefore, it will also be included in the concert programme.
On February 9th, let’s meet at the NCPA Concert Hall to enjoy marvellous and exquisite music from Vienna.