Favourites from the Strauss family

Brighton Philharmonic Orchestra will celebrate the music of the Johann Strauss family and their contemporaries with a feast of popular favourites from the golden age of light music on New Year’s Eve.

Orchestra spokesman Peter Back said: “The orchestra’s concert emulates the annual celebrations in Vienna, which began during a dark period of Austria’s history and were conceived for a local audience as a reminder of better times and a source of hope for the future.

“Before the First World War, the Viennese took their pleasures seriously – in café-house gossip, light theatre, music and most of all dancing. Such a hedonistic approach to life reverberates in the music of Johann Strauss II, whose vibrant and colourful music is full of the glamour and opulence of great society occasions, most notably the typical Viennese ball.

“With such gems as the Emperor Waltz and The Blue Danube, he established himself as The Waltz King, and in response to polkamania he composed the Champagne Polka and the Tritsch-Tratsch Polka, whose infectious rhythms and sparkling optimism never fail to raise the spirits.

“Strauss’s counterpart in the silver age that followed was Franz Lehár, whose Gold and Silver Waltz was an enormous success for its publisher, if not for its composer. The Portuguese soprano, Susana Gaspar will sing Vilja from Lehár’s early operatic success, The Merry Widow, along with other treats that include Dvořák’s heart-rending Song to the Moon from Rusalka.”

The concert is in Brighton Dome on December 31 at 2.45pm.