Every year, for as long as PBS has broadcast them (since 1959) I have watched the New Year’s Day concert from Vienna. This year’s was, like everything else, quite different and somewhat strange due to the continuing pandemic. The Vienna Philharmonic played, exquisitely led by our own Riccardo Muti, in the glorious Wiener Musikverein.
The difference was the orchestra played to an empty hall but had millions of us watching and listening to this annual tradition, now hosted by Hugh Bonneville, who was in the UK. The broadcast will be repeated, in Chicago on WTTW, this Sunday, January 3. It has just been announced that Daniel Barenboim will conduct the 2022 Concert.
This years program was, as usual, mostly Strauss, some of my most favorite music. Why you might ask…from the time I was very young, actually I could say from birth, I was exposed to many types of music in my home. I have always liked classical music, as did my parents…you by now know my taste, in just about everything (including my brain!), is very eclectic that continues in my music choices. At an early age I became obsessed with music boxes and asked Santa for one that played a Strauss waltz. Santa always delivered my wishes and I got a quite charming Swiss music box playing the Strauss waltz, Tales From The Vienna Woods, composed in 1868. https://youtube.com/watch?v=Og3joyCntrI&feature=share
Here is the top of my very old music box which, by the way, still plays!!!! I played it every night to lull me to sleep after Daddy either read me a beloved story or told me his own stories….loved those most of all!!!! Through the ensuing years I always have sound on, when working, reading, doing nothing at all, and even all night. It is truly the background to my life.
The beginnings of music boxes can be traced to Switzerland in 1796 and were small enough to be carried in a pocket, like a watch and often contained a timepiece. The music box as we know it became extremely popular in the mid 1800’s.
Also, Automatons became highly prized and are now quite collectible
Remember the Monkey Automaton in Phantom of the Opera, it was a pivotal part of the story. He plays the hauntingly beautiful “Masquerade”.
I have, obviously, just scratched the surface of this fascinating subject (perhaps more in-depth research and a second post is in order!) and have mixed several stories in one post….but as I said my thoughts take many, many different directions and I don’t see that changing in this New Year! Stay tuned to see what I’ll explore next!
All images from Pinterest photo credits unknown. Image of my music box taken with my iPhone.