Oh, Vi­enna!

A cen­turies-old legacy of great drama and even greater mu­sic con­tin­ues in Dubai as one of Vi­enna’s most fa­mous or­ches­tras, the Orig­i­nal Wiener Strauss Capelle, makes its de­but in the Mid­dle East, says Tessy Koshy

Friday - - Society -

On a cold Oc­to­ber evening in 1844, 19-year-old Jo­hann Strauss stood in the mid­dle of the Dom­mayer Casino in Vi­enna’s Hi­et­z­ing dis­trict. Look­ing at the au­di­ence in the packed hall, he trem­bled with trep­i­da­tion – not only were all those ex­pec­tant faces here to see him, the son of fa­mous Aus­trian com­poser Jo­hann Strauss se­nior, but he was hold­ing this de­but con­cert in stark op­po­si­tion to his fa­ther’s wishes.

Know­ing that the life of a mu­si­cian was not an easy one, Jo­hann Strauss se­nior would pun­ish his son if he caught him prac­tis­ing the vi­olin, and used his in­flu­ence to ban lo­cal en­ter­tain­ment es­tab­lish­ments from of­fer­ing the younger man a con­tract. So the casino had made a brave move in al­low­ing him to per­form, and Strauss ju­nior knew he couldn’t let them – or the au­di­ence – down.

With steely re­solve, the young man held his head high, ready for his first pub­lic per­for­mance. What fol­lowed opened the gate­way to a mu­si­cal ex­trav­a­ganza – the fast polkas and slow waltzes he had com­posed mes­merised the au­di­ence, whip­ping them into a frenzy as they de­manded one en­core af­ter another. Some pieces were played up to 19 times over and the next day’s news­pa­pers were full of head­lines about how Strauss se­nior had been over­taken over by his son.

It was the de­but of a true mu­si­cal ge­nius and the pas­sion­ate legacy of that first night lives on to­day in the Orig­i­nal Wiener Strauss Capelle, a Vi­en­nese orches­tra that can trace its roots back to the orig­i­nal or­ches­tras op­er­ated by theWaltz King, as Jo­hann Strauss II came to be known.

Mu­sic lovers in the UAE can catch a glimpse of some of his­tory’s most mag­nif­i­cent mu­sic for them­selves as the orches­tra makes its de­but in the Mid­dle East with a per­for­mance at the Emi­rates Golf Club lawns in Dubai next Satur­day, Jan­uary 18.

“The Strauss Capelle is the most tra­di­tional Strauss Orches­tra in the world and this is a golden chance for mu­sic en­thu­si­asts in Dubai to hear one of Vi­enna’s most renowned or­ches­tras con­tinue its cen­turies-old mu­si­cal legacy,” says chief con­duc­tor Rainer Roos, who has been per­form­ing with the orches­tra since 2004.

The Strauss legacy is one of both great mu­sic and great drama: hav­ing en­joyed such


Rainer Roos,

the chief con­duc­tor

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