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Cherry Pop

Title - 'Strauss: Waltzes'
Artist - Willi Boskovsky / Wiener Philharmoniker

For those not in the know, Willi Boskovsky (16 June 1909 – 21 April 1991) was an Austrian violinist and conductor, best known as the long-standing conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert.

Boskovsky was born in Vienna, and joined the Vienna Academy of music at the age of nine. He was the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1936 to 1979.

He was also, from 1955, the conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert, which is mostly devoted to the music of Johann Strauss II and his contemporaries.

Along with the Vienna Philharmonic, he was also the chief conductor of the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester up until his death. A forerunner of this ensemble was the 19th-century Strauss Orchestra founded by Johann Strauss I in 1835. He died in Visp, Switzerland.

In chamber ensemble he led the Boskovsky Quartet with Philipp Matheis (2nd violin), Gunther Breitenbach (viola) and Nikolaus Hübner (violoncello). The Boskovsky Quartet, together with Johann Krump (double-bass), Alfred Boskovsky (clarinet), Josef Veleba (horn) and Rudolf Hanzl (bassoon) formed the Vienna Octet.

Boskovsky was also a Mozart performer: he recorded all the sonatas for violin and piano, with pianist Lili Kraus, and the complete trios for violin, piano and cello, with Kraus and Nikolaus Hübner for Les Discophiles Français.

He played in Brahms' Double Concerto in A minor, Op.102, with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.

Decca Classics have just released a stunning 2CD set from Willi Boskovsky and the Wiener Philharmoniker entitled 'Strauss: Waltzes and it is, quite easily, one of the most formidable of its kind thus far brought forth in many a year.

CD 1:
1. 'An der schönen blauen Donau'
2. 'Frühlingsstimmen'
3. 'Sphären-Klänge'
4. 'Geschichten aus dem Wienerwald'
5. 'Du und Du'
6. 'Wein, Weib und Gesang'
7. 'Tausend und eine Nacht'
8. 'Wo die Zitronen blühn'
9. 'Liebeslieder'

CD 2:
1. 'Wiener Blut'
2. 'Wiener Bonbons'
3. 'Künstlerleben'
4. 'Morgenblätter'
5. 'Dorfschwalben aus Österreich'
6. 'Rosen aus dem Süden'
7. 'Kaiser-Walzer'
8. 'Accellerationen'

I have been a Boskovsky / Wiener Philharmoniker fan for a long time and even his work with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra has allowed me to embrace his work further down the years.

So to listen to this wondrous new 2-CD package of the Strauss' Waltzes - An Der Schonen, Blauen Donau and The Blue Danube - was an unprecedented treat, please believe me.

And I say the Strauss' as this new collection includes all of the most famous Waltzes by Johann Strauss II along with two of the finest waltzes by his talented brother, Josef.

Part of Maestro Boskovsky's secret seems to be a perfect mix of technique and technicality - a blend to please the romantic, the purist, and even us music lovers who are a little of both.

His conducting reflects feeling and passion but without crossing the line and affecting the integrity of the music.

And the selection is great. Not only do we get the usual "suspects" but some slightly lesser known waltzes as well. Don't miss the energetic performance of Morning Papers, with its memorable brass passages played here to perfection.

Overall, this new collective set is beautiful music superbly conducted and played by people who understand and love it. Very highly recommended.

Amazon Purchase Link