Thundering Tristch-Trastch

Happy New Year, friends, and here’s hoping that 2022 has a better trajectory in the not-too-distant future!

My own holiday season was busier than I’d have liked; on the flip side, I’m grateful to be working so much, and grateful to be able to travel to see my in-laws.

I turned down a New Year’s Eve concert to give myself a little bit of breathing space, so it was a year without the usual panoply of Strauss gems. I’ve always been partial to his polkas, which I adore. They practically play themselves, and need just a quick prod and a sly look from the conductor for most professional orchestras. I’m a big supporter of getting out of the players’ way and not trying to micromanage – orchestral playing is collegial, and I like to foster an atmosphere of agency for everyone.

Here are two of my favorite performances of some of my favorite polkas. The first, the inimitable Carlos Kleiber showcases his elegant charm with Unter Donner und Blitz Polka; the second features the great János Ferencsik in one of the most delightful examples of minimalistic conducting out there. Hope that your 2022 will hold similar wonders!

Carlos Kleiber

Link to János Ferencsik HERE.

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