Something a little different this week. Well, very different actually. No real favourite bands or singers beginning with the letter, so I am going to cheat a little. While working as a guide in Austria in the late 90s I spent lots of time in Vienna, known as a city of music and with a huge classical music tradition. Both with my groups of tourists and on my own, I attended loads of concerts, dinner shows etc. and became very familiar with the city’s musical heritage. And loved it – from the traditional waltzes and marches to ballads about the city to operetta. Still love it now, it combines great tunes with a sentimentality that really appeals to me. So this is my chance to include some of those items in my Music Monday journey…
(1) Radetzky March [Johann Strauss I] – One of the most famous Viennese pieces, traditional finale to any performance of Viennese music, especially the famous New Year concerts (whether at the Vienna Philharmonic itself, or Symphony Hall in Birmingham). Love it played by orchestra or brass band, just a superb, rousing piece of music.
(2) Vienna Blood [Johann Strauss II] – The king of the waltz! This is my favourite of his pieces and reminds me of hot summer nights at traditional wine taverns in the Vienna woods.
(3) Wien, du Stadt meiner Träume (Vienna, City of My Dreams) [Rudolf Sieczyski] – A sentimental celebration of the writer’s home city, from the architecture to the pretty girls (saw more of the former than the latter in my times there, but still).
(4) Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiss [Franz Lehar] – From the operetta Giuditta, this was one that was always on the programme at the Vienna City Hall dinner shows and became my favourite of the operetta songs that I discovered in Vienna and Budapest.
(5) Wien Bleibt Wien [Franz Schrammel] – From the Viennese tradition pre-Strauss, written and best performed by a small string/wind ensemble, which was how I first discovered it in those same City Hall shows.
Been a while since I’ve been to Vienna, will have to plan myself a trip there before too much longer.