It's one big party this Friday - New Year's Day. We start the day out with a selection of "Musical Firsts" - the first symphony, the first opus, the first performance -- you get the idea.
One of the pieces I'll be playing is from a concert recorded at the Ordway last season. The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra led by Miguel Heras-Casado gives a lively rendition of Prokofiev's First known to most of us as 'Classical Symphony.'
You can listen to the SPCO in concert right now - on-line -- by clicking just to the right.
Then we head to Austria for one of the biggest musical events in the world - the Vienna Philharmonic New Year's Concert 2010 from the Musikverein. It's a tradition that goes back to a dark period in Austria's history, the Second World War. The lively array of polkas and waltzes was designed to remind a local audience of better times.
Today, the concert's joyful and optimistic feel helps set the mood for the year ahead for millions of radio listeners.
Georges Pretre has conducted the Philharmonic for 47 years and will take his place on the podium this year for what the Phil hopes is a New Year's greeting of hope, friendship and peace.
Following this live concert, we'll come home to Minnesota Orchestra Hall for one of the greatest symphonies of them all: Beethoven's Ninth, his Choral Symphony. Osmo Vanska leads the Minnesota Orchestra, Minnesota Chorale and soloists in this Grammy nominated disc.
Alex Ross of "The New Yorker" writes "Vanska, a notorious taskmaster, appears to have sent his players to rhythmic boot camp, getting them to knock out dotted figures with quasi-military snap. At the same time, he has total command of the emotional architecture of the work. This is some of the most vivid Beethoven playing on the market."
The BBC Music Magazine chiming in with "From the very first bars of this new recording...we know we are in for an exceptional experience....this is a Beethoven Ninth for our times."
Start your New Year accompanied by the most beautiful resolution of all time:
Joy, beautiful spark of divinity; Daughter of Elysium, We enter, drunk with fire, Into your heavenly sanctuary!