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Andrè Rieu
Andre Rieu Growing up in a large musical family -my father was a conductor and nearly all of my brothers and sisters are instrumentalists - I heard almost nothing other than classical music: symphonies and other works for large orchestra, chamber music and opera.
Once while I was still a conservatory student, I was asked to take part in a salon ensemble, and when I played my first waltz with them - "Gold and Silver" by Franz Lehar - it was as though I had discovered a new world. Such compelling rhythm, that 3/4 metre! I fell immediately in the grasp of this music and decided that I wanted to play more like it. I started studying the biographies of composers like Strauss and Lehar and I found out that Johann Strauss did not write his waltzes so much for performance in the concert hall, but rather for festive gatherings and celebrations where young people danced  and  were cheerful.
Strauss would perform in the parks and halls for large audiences, who would thoroughly enjoy themselves. One could almost compare it to our present-day discos! From my very youth, I have always regretted that there is such an enormous gulf between the musicians on the stage and the audience in the concert hall. I have but a single aim in my concerts: to involve the audience in such a way that the spark of all that wonderful music will be transferred directly to them!
André Rieu
The Vienna I Love
The Second Waltz & Other Famous Waltzes From Holland with Love

If Rieu is not the most outstanding purveyor of Viennese waltzes and similar light-hearted fare, he is certainly the most popular and well-known. There are plenty of fun pieces on this album, although, to be just a tad pedantic, more of it is Italian and French than remotely Viennese. But it's all fun, and it's all well-played.

Waltz had once held so much importance in European music circles that great waltz composers received the honorary title of “Waltz King”. The title came with an accompanying “royal staff”, a decorated silver baton which was passed from musician to musician. Johann Strauss Junior, the most famous “Waltz King”, received the title frequently.  In this breathtaking CD performed by André Rieu, waltz music takes a very different path in sound and style. It is not as all the other walzes that we have listened before, since they have very special Rieu's magical touch.
This great  collection is a must for any lover of the classics....but for waltz enthusiasts, it is Heaven !

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