AND HIS JOHANN STRAUSS ORCHESTRA
Decca CD [72:20] & DVD [49’]
Clear the top of the best-selling chart: André, his orchestra and choir, are back with their first studio album since 2019. A new release from the Dutch maestro, who brings so much joy to so many people with his CDs, DVDs, live concerts and YouTube presence, will be especially welcome to readers starved nowadays of discs of their kind of music.
For fervent fans there is probably little need for this, but here is a taster of what to expect. The 19 tracks range through marches and waltzes like Semper Fidelis, Waves of the Danube, El Capitan and Émile Waldteufel’s Estudiantina, novelty numbers like You Are My Sunshine and Circus Renz, together with such as the album title tune composed by Gary Bonner, Valencia, Berliner Luft, La Bamba, Can’t Help Falling in Love, and All My Life featuring Höhner. Another special guest is Perlseer Dirndl on Slavko Play For Us.
Then there is a highly entertaining DVD with a dozen items from a selection of Rieu’s favourite concerts around the world. Surely it must be an oversight that there is no contents listing for these in the booklet notes.
This modern day “King of the Waltz – André has just received his 10th UK Gold Record – has produced the album and continues to write his own arrangements for almost everything that is played, although I do sometimes wonder whether this is really necessary.
The booklet lists the names of all the orchestral players and choir. I smiled on seeing that the clarinettist is still the long-serving Manou Konings, remembering her many comic moments at concerts shown on television.
It is good that Sky Arts is now available on Freeview (Channel 11) so more of us can enjoy the fun elements of the maestro’s performances. That he can still regularly attract an audience of 11 thousand for each of his performances in his home town of Maastricht is truly remarkable.
André is extremely proud of his orchestra and choir. And so say all of us!
© Peter Burt 2021