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1 Jan 2007

Welcoming the new year with The Concert

filed under: journal  :: 2007  :: swiss life  :: tv

New Year's Concert: Wiener Musikverein concert hall, all decked out for the New Year's Day Concert 2007.New Year's Concert: Wiener Musikverein concert hall, all decked out for the New Year's Day Concert 2007.

New Year's Day doesn't quite feel like the start of a new year, mainly because it's a holiday. I also usually wake up rather late, and slightly groggy. Not that I overindulge on the champagne or anything, but something about New Year's Eve makes me want to stay up way past my usual bedtime, even if it's just watching old movies.

The one thing that kicks off the year for me every time is the Das Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker (Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert). It is so soothing because it's almost exactly the same, year after year. The setting in the beautiful golden Wiener Musikverein concert hall, almost smothered in flowers, the sylph-like ballet dancers who flit around 18th century gilded rooms, and of course the musical programme itself, which is All Strauss (luckily there were quite a few Strausses). The audience at the New Year's Concert, WienThe audience at the New Year's Concert, WienThe Wiener Philharmoniker is almost all male (2 female members), and all white, which might be infuriating on some days but on this day is sort of reassuringly, blandly consistent, like a bowl of oatmeal. The audience however is well peppered with Asian faces, because Asians love classical European music, as evidenced by the large number of up-and-coming Asian musicians in the classical arena.

But this isn't the time to get into things so political. Here in Switzerland, we have a choice of about 10 channels to choose from for watching the concert, since it's broadcast on the no. 1 or no.2 national television channel in most nations. We zap around these channels a bit, marveling again at how international this little country is, before settling into watch it on BBC Two (the only channel that broadcasts it without that annoying station logo). I always doze off slightly around the middle, but am always up and alert for the ending. First there's the New Year Greeting from the conductor - this year Zubin Mehta welcomed Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union. Then, The Blue Danube. Then to send everyone off in good cheer, the Radetzky March.

And now, it's time to face 2007.

En guets Nöis - Happy New Year - 新年明けましておめでとうございます!

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