REVIEW: Scarborough Spa Orchestra: Vienna Concert

Scarborough Spa Orchestra

Scarborough Spa Orchestra

Are your champagne flutes raised? Then, Happy New Year. The Spa Orchestra saw in 2017 in traditional style with its Vienna concert.

The Vienna New Year’s Concert is a concert of classical music performed by the the Vienna Philharmonic that takes place each year on the morning of New Year’s Day in Vienna, Austria, and is broadcast to millions worldwide.

For the past years, Scarborough Spa Orchestra has been performing a similar programme of music each afternoon of New Year’s day in the Spa’s Grand Hall.

This year was no exception and there was hardly a seat to be had as probably more than a thousand people attended the concert.

The concert celebrates the music of the Strauss family and other composers associated with the city including Franz Lehar and Ralph Benatzky, who wrote White Horse Inn.

The running order and programme differs from the Vienna event – but the joy and celebration pervades the Scarborough concert as much as it does the one in the Austrian capital.

The orchestra’s musical director and pianist Paul Laidlaw introduced each piece with his customary mix of knowledge and humour.

There were marches, waltzes and polkas – mostly instantly recognisanle but Laidlaw always rings the changes.

This year there was a orchestral version of Vienna City of My Dreams , a song by Austrian Rudolf Sieczyński, and a lesser known work by Benatzky.

However, tradition dictated the orchestra played the Blue Danube, Johann Strauss II’s waltz. It was brilliantly zestful as was the composer’s Trish Trash polka and Thunder and Lightning Waltz.

Lehar was represented by the Gold and Silver Waltz and a medley from his operetta The Merry Widow.

The encore was Johann Strauss I’s Radetzky March, a staple of Last Night of the Proms, with the audience invited to stomp and clap along.

The afternoon was full of zest and music, joy and hope for the new year ahead. It was wonderful.

Sparkle was added when a bottle of champagne and glasses were carried on to the stage for the musicians – with the bubbly coming courtesy of The Scarborough News.

The Scarborough Spa Orchestra will be back in residence at the complex from the spring until late September.