Sunday, December 18, 2005

Andre Rieu Christmas Concert

Having been a part-time classical music fan since high school, I'm always casually on the lookout for composers and works new to me. I suppose I've devoted the majority of my music listening to rock 'n'roll, but I keep coming back to classical, to the great surprise of most of my friends. You see, I don't give the impression that I'm a classical music afficianado to many.

About threee or fourrrr years ago, I stumbled onto Andre Rieu on the Arts Channel on TV. The station, which has since been removed by Adelpia for some reason known only to them, played videos, many of which were of classical orchestras playing famous classical pieces.

Some of the many MTV-style (back, for those of you old enough to remember, when MTV used to play music videos) bits they showed on the Arts Channel were Strauss waltzes played by an orchestra of relatively young, attractive and photogenic musicians that turned out to be the Andre Rieu Orchestra. I eventually learned that Rieu is a Dutchmen, tours a lot throughout Europe and has a number of DVD's and CD's on the market. I've bought several of them.

I've always loved Strauss music, even before I knew who Strauss was--or were, since there were more than one of them. Johann, the original Viennese Waltz King, and his sons Johann, Jr (the one we know best) and Josef (his brother). There was even more talent in the family, but they're not important.

What is important, is that waltzes are beautiful and Strauss, Jr became the king of the waltz following in the footsteps of his father.

Andre Rieu and his orchestra play Strauss waltzes very nicely!

For the first time ever, Andre Rieu took his tour here to the Los Angeles area. Debbie and I went, yesterday, to his concert at the LA Sports Arena.

I was a mite worried. The LA Sports Arena is the home of the USC Trojans baxabaw team. Horror! I had thoughts of a jock odor throughout the building.

No, it was fine. We had center aisle seats on the floor. They started with The entry of the Gladiators, during which the entire orchestra passed through the center aisle from the rear, to stairs up to the stage. The entire orchestra passed within a couple of feet of my own self! I'll tell you, some of the female musicians were absolutely stunning!

Being close to Christmas, the program called for a series of Christmas songs, played by the orchestra and sang by a trio of tenors and a trio of sopranoes. They included Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Winter Wonderland, Sleigh Ride and Silent Night. It was a lot of fun.

After an intermission, they played some waltzes and some opera selections (sung by the aforementioned singers). The climax of the evening was his arrangement of Strauss' The Blue Danube during which Rieu asked those who wish to dance, to do so in the aisles. Many did.

The orchestra followed all that with a loooong encore.

It was a very cool evening. I recommend Andre Rieu to anyone who loves the waltz.


Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

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