Walter Cronkite To Ring In
It’s three-quarter time again on Thirteen/WNET New York’s GREAT PERFORMANCES. Led by host Walter Cronkite, the series returns to the home of the waltz in From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2003, next Wednesday at 2:30 and 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Airing live via satellite in stereo simulcast, the program takes an estimated international audience of 750 million to the city’s Musikverein concert hall for a glittering 90 minutes of lilting works by Johann Strauss, father and son, Brahms, Weber and Berlioz. Nikolaus Harnoncourt leads the renowned Vienna Philharmonic.
"It’s always a thrill for Mrs. Cronkite and me," says Cronkite. "We can hardly wait to get back. Entertainment can help us all heal and in these times that is no small task. The music is all light and airy and such a pleasant way to start the year. You can bet we’ll be waltzing."
Highlights include the Weber /Berlioz Invitation to the Dance, inspiration for Benny Goodman’s classic Let’s Dance, and Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 5 and Hungarian Dance No. 6, plus Strauss’ Hellenic Polka, featuring dancers from the Vienna State Opera Ballet performing at the popular Volksgarten park, and - in their concert debut - soloists of the world-famed Kirov Ballet swirling through the Coronation Songs Waltz at Eggenberg Palace in Graz. For the perennial Blue Danube Waltz, viewers will travel up-river aboard the Danube’s oldest steamboat into the Wachau, the historically famous wine-growing area.
Other side trips include visits to the imperial summer palace of Schoenbrunn for Strauss’ Emperor Waltz and to the mischievous Aquatic Gardens at Hellbrunn Palace for his Jest Polka, plus a visit to the Chinese Room at Schoenbrunn for Strauss Sr.’s Chinese Gallop.
Capping the special, as always, is the irresistible Radetzky March by Strauss Sr.