For a More Refined 2022, Listen to the Vienna Philharmonic Ring in the New Year


New Year’s in the Philippines is almost always the same: fireworks, media noche with loved ones, and lots of noise. But in case you’re in the mood to ring in 2022 with something a bit more refined, the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic has resumed its annual New Year’s Concert. Sponsored by Swiss watchmaker Rolex, the concert was broadcast live on Saturday, January 1 at 6:15 a.m. (CST), which was at 8:15 a.m. Philippine time on January 2 (Sunday). Held at Musikverein’s Golden Hall in the Austrian capital, the concert can be viewed online at Medici TV.

The event is a showcase of the vast repertoire of Johann Strauss, his family, and contemporaries. Due to travel restrictions and safety protocol concerns, the 2021 New Year Concert was only broadcast on TV and livestream. The 2022 edition had a limited live seating capacity of 1,000 pax. The Vienna Philharmonic’s 2021 highlights include concerts in Florence and Milan last May, in Copenhagen last June and two more concerts in September including the Summer Night Concert Schönbrunn in Vienna and in Barcelona’s La Sagrada Família.

Photo by Rolex.

The Vienna Philharmonic is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s most revered orchestras, upholding the greatest traditions in classical music. It was founded in 1842 and with more than 175 years of artistic contribution. It prides itself for its individuality and lustrous sound as well as for its exacting standards, maintaining artistic integrity.

However, the orchestra isn’t without controversy. In its website, the group confronts its history during World War 2.

“Its first New Year's Concert took place during the darkest chapter of the history of Austria and that of the Vienna Philharmonic. In the midst of barbarism, dictatorship and war, at a time of constant worry regarding the lives of members and their families, the Philharmonic sent an ambivalent signal: the net income from a concert dedicated to compositions by the Strauss dynasty which was performed on December 31, 1939, was donated entirely to the National Socialist fund-raising campaign “Kriegswinterhilfswerk.”

Conductor Daniel Barenboim

Photo by Wiener Philharmonik.

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“On January 1, 1941, a Philharmonic matinee entitled "Johann Strauss Concert" was performed,” it continues. “Taking place in the middle of the war, many regarded this as an expression of Viennese individuality, but it was also misappropriated for the National Socialistic propaganda of the “Großdeutscher Rundfunk.” Clemens Krauss conducted these concerts until the end of the war. In the years 1946 and 1947, Josef Krips (1902-1974) replaced Krauss, who returned in 1948 after the end of his two-year conducting ban which had been imposed by the allies, and who conducted seven more New Year's Concerts until 1954.”

A recent article in the New York Times also mentions the Vienna Philharmonic’s history with the Nazi party.

“The tradition of performing works from this canon for the new year, meanwhile, began in the early months of World War II,” the article says. “A concert of works from the Strauss dynasty on Dec. 31, 1939, served as a fundraiser for a program of the Nazi Party.

“Despite their association with the ‘darkest chapter’ in Austrian history and that of the Philharmonic, these waltzes and polkas have also lived on as symbols of Viennese charm.”

Photo by Rolex.

The Vienna Philharmonic is exclusively supported by Rolex since 2008. The watch brand is also the exclusive sponsor of the New Year’s Concert since 2009. The 2022 edition of the concert will be led by Maestro Daniel Barenboim, with whom the Vienna Philharmonic has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship. This will be the third time that the Maestro will take the podium.

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