Vienna before the war was the apotheosis of old world high culture and genteel civilization, my Viennese Aunt Vera has always told us. And, the great conductor Jascha Horenstein who conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in the 20s was her first cousin. We felt it was his spirit that brought her grandson Shawn to New York on the night of the celebration of The Vienna Philharmonic Society Orchestra’s 175th anniversary and launch of their new historical book, A Sound Tradition: A Short History of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, a day before Vera’s 101st birthday.
The Vienna Philharmonic String Quartet had also flown in for the night, to perform selections by Beethoven, Strauss, and the quintessentially Viennese composer, Joseph Lanner. A long trip to be sure, but that’s what friends are for. Sir Clive Gillinson has made Carnegie Hall their second home, and partnered with the Vienna Philharmonic Society and the Orchestra to contribute to the cultural life of New York and cities throughout our country, in conjunction with The Weil Music Institute.
In their day, the great composers actually worked with the Vienna Orchestra conductors to play the music as envisioned, Sir Christoph Wagner-Trenkwitz, the book’s author, told the room. Those notes remain today, maintaining the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s high standard of excellence. No matter what Wagner-Trenkwitz wrote, translator John Hargraves told the room, it was his words we would actually be reading.
Guests included Bill Bernhard, Austrian Consul General Dr. Helmut Böck, Katia Chapin, Carole and John French, April and Roddy Gow, Ambassador and Mrs. Andreas Jacovides, the Austrian Ambassador to the United Nations Jan Kickert with his wife Latica, Noel Lateef, Cynthia and Leon Polsky, Ann Nitze, Emily Rafferty, Yolanda Santos, Mr. and Mrs. Sedgwick Ward, Canadian Consul General Pamela Yaffe, as well the vice chairman of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Alexander Steinberger, and board members of The Vienna Philharmonic Society Cynthia Sculco, Theodora Simons, William D. Forster, John Hargraves and Max Jahn.
A Sound Tradition: A Short History of The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, is the first history of the orchestra in English and lavishly illustrated.