Thursday, 1 January 2009

Starting 2009

For many people, the new year started at midnight last night.
My personal reckoning works a little differently.
For me, the new year doesn't really start until I've heard the last few notes of the Radetzky Marsch. (I may or may not be one of those people who clap along at home - I'm not admitting to anything.)Justify Full

I'm talking about the Vienna New Year's Concert, played every year by the Vienna Philharmonic.
It's broadcast live on TV (to over 40 countries, apparently), and watching it is probably the only unshakeable new year's tradition we have in our house. We don't really get into the spirit of the night, normally. We don't do the lead-pouring-thing, we don't waltz into the new year, and we don't always eat pork on New Year's Day. But every year, without fail, we watch the New Year's Concert, and I love it. (Here's a taste.)

What I don't really know is why I love it.
The thing is, while I don't hate classical music, I won't actively seek it out, either. I know some of the most famous stuff, and there are a few pieces I absolutely love, but the times when I actually dig up those CDs or watch a concert on TV are few and far between. I know what I like, even if I can't articulate why. For some strange reason, my basic argument of "It sounds nice" is dismissed by people who take their music seriously ^_^"

I guess there's just something incredibly reassuring about starting the new year with a set of melodies that are both timeless and completely familiar. And while I'm philistine enough to not hear whether a polka is conducted by Muti or Barenboim, I recognize Strauss music when I hear it, and it never fails to put a smile on my face.

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