• Michael Albert

Food for the Soul: Music to Inspire and Soothe

Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert ► Viennese music with Strauss Waltzes & Operetta Hits, Singers, Dancers & Full Orchestra in one New Year's concert performance. Click to get the BEST tickets at the concert near you »

Food for the soul, music can comfort, uplift, and inspire us. It can also refresh us, recharge us, and bring us moments of pure delight. We'd like to share two pieces of music that do this for us!

Goldberg Variations by J.S. Bach

Performed by Glenn Gould, 1981

One of our homegrown musical heroes, Toronto’s own Glenn Gould was one of the most renowned pianists of the twentieth century. From child prodigy to global phenomenon, Gould’s virtuosic talent–in addition to his eccentric playing style and personality–made him a source of intrigue around the world.

As Gould himself evolved as an artist, so did his interpretation of Bach’s Goldberg Variations. His first recording of them in 1955 clocks in at thirty-eight minutes. A quarter century later, the virtuoso once again released a recording of the same piece, but this time, his performance is a full thirteen minutes longer. One might think that, after decades behind the piano, Gould’s increased level of skill would allow him to perform the piece even faster than he had in his initial recording at age twenty-three. But by 1981, Gould had learned to take more time. He slowed down. He relished in the clarity and meditation of this work.

Classical music also has the power to exhilarate and perk up our spirits; that’s just what this next performance does!

Radetzky March by Johann Strauss

Performed by Roberto Metro & Elvira Foti, 2010

Strauss’s Radetzky March has been performed as an encore in each and every iteration of Salute to Vienna New Year’s Concert for the past twenty-five years. Originally composed to commemorate Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz’s 1848 victory at the Battle of Custoza, the piece premiered at a performance for Austrian military officers. When the audience of military men heard the chorus for the first time, they spontaneously began clapping along and stomping their feet, thus inspiring the tradition to clap along rhythmically with the music. This festive custom has been repeated for hundreds of years, as audiences in classical music venues around the world participate in the experience by clapping quietly during the first part of the melody, followed by loud, jubilant clapping in the second part. Often the conductor, instead of leading the orchestra, will face the audience and conduct the volume of their clapping.

Over the years, the Radetzky March has become a kind of unofficial Austrian national anthem. It’s played at Austrian soccer (ahem, football) matches, in videos promoting Austrian travel and tourism, and as the final musical piece performed in the Neujahrskonzert in Vienna’s Musikverein. In this delightful and refreshing recording, Roberto Metro & Elvira Foti perform the piece as a piano duet, enlivening the audience and lifting their spirits.


We hope you’ll find the time to be inspired and rejuvenated by mindfully engaging with classical music.


Salute to Vienna New Year's Concert ► Viennese music with Strauss Waltzes & Operetta Hits, Singers, Dancers & Full Orchestra in one New Year's concert performance. Click to get the BEST tickets at the concert near you »

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