Karajan had been appointed music director for life of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1955, and soon the orchestra mastered the entire palette of Karajan's subtly defined phrasings, moods and orchestral colors. At home in the majesty of Bruckner or the raw power of Beethoven, the orchestra was also able to "let go" and enjoy a rollicking time with Suppé or a Lisztian Hungarian Rhapsody, as the present recording superbly illustrates. For the 1978 New Year's Eve concert with the Berlin Philharmonic, Karajan put together a program of exclusively popular classical works, pieces that would guarantee a bubbly good time. Following Verdi's Overture to "La forza del destino" are the two major works of the program, Bizet's Arlésienne Suite No. 2 and Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2. The Hungarian March, or "Rákóczy March," from Berlioz's "La damnation de Faust" never fails to rouse listeners with its dazzling instrumentation. The program closes with the Intermezzo from Mascagni's "L'amico Fritz" and the ever-popular Overture to "Leichte Kavallerie" by Franz von Suppé.
Giuseppe Verdi - Overture "La forza del destino"
Georges Bizet - Suite L'Arlesienne No. 2 -
Pastorale - Intermezzo - Farandole
Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2
Hector Berlioz -
La Damnation de Faust -
Pietro Mascagni - Intermezzo from "L'amico Fritz" (Freund Fritz)
Franz von Suppe - Overture "Leichte Kavallerie"