For the first time since 1984 – then with Herbert von Karajan – music by Johann Sebastian Bach was played at the New Year’s Eve Concert: Daniel Barenboim opened the festive round of dances with a gavotte by the Baroque master. One of the composers Barenboim is particularly fond of is Mozart: the charm of a gallant minuet was followed by the cheerful Rondo for piano and orchestra KV 386, which he conducted from the piano.
Dances can be found in all genres of music, including, of course, in opera. After an excerpt from Verdi’s Aida, Barenboim presented one of Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances – his fervent Eighth, and you can immediately understand why the Czech achieved his breakthrough with these compositions. A special waltz sequence was formed by Tchaikovsky’s fragrant Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker, Sibelius’s melancholy Valse triste, and the magnificent Emperor Waltz by Johann Strauss.
Kodály’s folk-music inspired Dances of Galánta led into the 20th century, and Barenboim also served up two delicacies from his South American homeland: in Horacio Salgán’s orchestral tango A fuego lento and the lively, catchy tune Tico Tico, the Philharmoniker proved that no musical language in the world is foreign to them.