Album Remarks & Appraisals:
With many millions of records and concert tickets sold worldwide, Andre Rieu is the "King Of The Waltz." Now, releasing for the first time in America, is 'Forever Vienna', a once-in-a-lifetime CD+DVD combination that features Andre's greatest performances on the violin, as he leads his renowned Johann Strauss Orchestra. 'Forever Vienna' was an international sensation across Europe. This US edition features such beloved titles as the "Strauss & Co." medly, "Carnival of Venice", "Wine, Women And Song" and many more, all arranged by Andre – plus an exceptional live concert DVD, filmed in Australia during a groundbreaking world stadium tour. It's a two-hour-plus performance that has never been seen before in the U.S.!
"After years of success elsewhere, André Rieu has finally overcome in a big way his previous failure to break into Britain. He comes with a fine pedigree. Years ago I owned an LP of Viennese overtures played by the Limburg Symphony Orchestra conducted by his father. The younger Rieu began in his father's orchestra before branching out with his concerts of lollipops, and one must commend the way he takes music to the people and perhaps restores the popular appeal that pieces may have lost in being absorbed into the classical repertory. The DVD of a 2007 Albert Hall concert that forms part of the present package demonstrates that Rieu's concerts are indeed joyous occasions.
Whether the package offers much for readers of Gramophone is another matter. There's certainly elegance and swing to the genuine Viennese music, though there's also a shortage of the natural inflections that contribute so much to its effect. Moreover, though very much based on original orchestrations, the arrangements are M Rieu's own, and they incorporate a piano never found in the Strauss Orchestra.
The CD is culled from recordings released over a period of 14 years, and I doubt that many Gramophone readers will be drawn to the medleys it contains or, for instance, a seven-minute arrangement of Ravel's Boléro complete with ethereal choir. Far be it from me, though, to denigrate someone who gives such pleasure to so many and perhaps instils in them a lasting love of classical music." -Gramophone
Forever Vienna is the most recent album released by violinist André Rieu. It was released as a double CD + DVD album. The DVD was recorded at the Royal Albert Hall and has some special features which include: My Home Town, photo gallery and discography. The album entered the Irish Album Charts on the 4th February 2010 at number 53, it then climbed 49 places to its peak of number 4 the next week. It entered the UK Albums Chart on the 3rd January 2010 at number 22, so far it has peaked at number 2.
If any contemporary musician merits Johann Strauss' moniker, "The Waltz King," it is assuredly the indefatigable André Rieu, whose scintillating concerts have delighted audiences around the world. Forever Vienna, Rieu's 2010 release on Decca, is a representative sampler of his lively repertoire, and the violinist/conductor and his Johann Strauss Orchestra present a jovial mix of medleys and popular waltzes by the Strausses, Franz Lehár, Dmitry Shostakovich, and other composers whose dances have become familiar light classical fare. Most of the arrangements are Rieu's, and they display his characteristic whimsy and splashy orchestration, sometimes featuring a prominent violin part for himself, but often highlighting other musicians in enviable solos. The medleys are perhaps the most surprising and clever offerings, for Rieu occasionally inserts references to masterpieces that are far from the ballroom floor: the opening horn call from Bruckner's Fourth is a quirky way to open Danube Love Medley, a potpourri of waltzes, and who would expect Rossini's William Tell Overture or Suppé's Light Cavalry in the high-spirited Strauss Party? But as unexpected as these quotations are, they always work because of the music's buoyant humor and Rieu's charming way of letting his audience in on the jokes. The sound of these recordings is full, warm, and effervescent, and the evenness of volume over the tracks allows a comfortable home listening experience.~Blair Sanderson
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