During their August residency at the Salzburg Festival, Riccardo Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic received a special sales award for the live recording of their 2018 New Year’s Concert, released in January by Sony Classical.
The best-selling disc, which features Muti and the Vienna Philharmonic in favorites by Johann “The Waltz King” Strauss II (as well as works by his father and brother), Franz von Suppé and Alphons Czibulka, has achieved double-platinum status. (The definition of platinum status varies according to country of origin, per regulations established by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. In Austria, where the disc was recorded, platinum designates sales of 15,000 units.)
A long-standing tradition, introduced in 1838 and revived in 1939, the New Year’s Concert is one of Europe’s most popular classical-music events and always features Viennese standards. Intended as “a musical greeting offered in a spirit of hope, friendship and peace,” the concert is broadcast around the globe, including by PBS in the United States. More than than 50 million worldwide viewed this year’s performance.
Zell Music Director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Muti has a long relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic, with more than 500 concerts over 47 years. In 2011, to commemorate this special artistic bond, he was awarded honorary membership in the orchestra. The 2018 concert marked the fifth time that Muti had led the New Year’s event, after appearances in 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2004. In the post-war era, only Clemens Krauss, Willi Boskovsky and Lorin Maazel have conducted the New Year’s Concert more frequently.
“The New Year‘s Concert is a beautiful task for a conductor,” Muti said in a statement. “Everyone thinks that the music of the Strauss family is easy — just because it is light and brilliant. But what sounds light and brilliant is often very, very hard. To do these unique works justice — and with the whole world watching — is challenging. But facing such a challenge with the Vienna Philharmonic, my friends and partners of so many years, made the 2018 concert an enormously satisfying and joyful experience for me.”
Michael Bladerer, managing director of the Vienna Philharmonic, added: “Riccardo Muti gave — in what is already his fifth New Year’s concert — a noble elegance to the music that unites the joyful Italianità with the lightness and melodic richness of the Viennese Strauss music. The concert was a special experience for us. We are very pleased that the audience felt the same and that the recording has now been awarded double platinum [status].”
For more information about the 2018 New Year’s Concert disc, or to order it from the CSO’s Symphony Store, click here.