Happy New Year

Soon, 2014 will be over and the New Year holiday will bring 2015, full of promise.  The start of a new year always seems like a punctuation, and place for new beginnings.  Resolutions, opportunities, and the time for a fresh start.  First, however, we have to send off the old year with a party.


Ella Fitzgerald, “What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve”

Many people want to avoid being alone for this holiday celebration.  One of the proudest, and most opportunistic, traditions of the New Year’s eve party is to kiss someone at midnight.  Usually you kiss the one you love, but sometimes you make do and kiss the one you are with.

Ray Charles, “You Be My Baby”

One of the biggest traditions for New Year’s Day in classical music is Das Neujahrskonzert der Wiener Philharmoniker, the New Year’s Day concert of the Vienna Philharmonic.  This is an insanely popular event, in which you submit your name a full year in advance for just a drawing to buy a ticket!  The concert always includes pleasant music from the Strauss family of musicians, and has featured some of the most talented conductors in the world leading the orchestra for the event.  Two real treats were the 1989 and 1992 concerts, both conducted by  Carlos Kleiber.  Kleiber was a musical genius who knew the entire orchestra repertoire, and did extensive research and preparation to conduct any piece.  Paradoxically, he made very few appearances, and even fewer recordings.  There are only a small number of pieces he conducted in public.  All of his recordings are gems, and his recording of Beethoven’s Fifth symphony is arguably one of the best performances of the ubiquitous work.

Carlos Kleiber was one of those guys who only came out of hiding when his refrigerator was bare.  He would then be motivated to appear in public, earn some resources to survive, and then go back to living in privacy.  He is one of the most respected and studied conductors, and his performances were few and far between.  The 1992 New Year’s Concert is a wonderfully enjoyable outing by Maestro Kleiber.

New year’s Concert 1992, Carlos Kleiber,  Vienna Philharmonic

It has been my pleasure starting this blog in 2014, and hope to continue it strong in the new year.  Thanks to all you have read, listened, shared and commented at Good Music Speaks.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015, filled with Good Music.

London New Year’s Eve Fireworks


10 thoughts on “Happy New Year

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  1. Thank you so much for including the Vienna Philharmonic concert. I would love to be at that concert. But it’s usually televised on PBS, and I’ll be watching on the evening of January 1! This year I do get to go to the New Year’s Eve concert at the St. Louis Symphony. I am excited! Conductor David Robertson never reveals the program in advance, so I’ve always been curious about what the surprises are. I’ll find out tomorrow night! Thanks again. Also, from watching him conduct, I’d never guess Kleiber was a recluse.

  2. I really appreciate your obvious knowledge of orchestral music as I myself am lacking in that area (though it is always something I’ve wanted to delve into). If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear them! Happy New Year!

    1. I have about 17,867 recommendations, but that would be overwhelming. If you are in a good mood in the New Year I would say start with Samuel Barber “Overture to the School for Scandal” or Leonard Bernatein “Overture to Candide”. If you are in a dark mood the maybe Sergei Rachmaninov “Isle of the Dead”. You Tube or Spotify should have plenty of versions to choose from. Shoot me an email and tell me if you like any of it.
      Thanks for reading, Rich

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