Willi Boskovsky (16 June 1909 – 21 April 1991) was an Austrian violinist and conductor, best known as the long-standing conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert.
Willi Boskovsky was born in Vienna, and joined the Vienna Academy of music at the age of nine. He was the concertmaster of the Vienna Philharmonic from 1936 to 1979. He was also, from 1955, the conductor of the Vienna New Year's Concert, which is mostly devoted to the music of Johann Strauss II and his contemporaries. Along with the Vienna Philharmonic, he was also the chief conductor of the Wiener Johann Strauss Orchester up until his death. A forerunner of this ensemble was the 19th-century Strauss Orchestra founded by Johann Strauss I in 1835. He died in Visp, Switzerland.
In chamber ensemble he led the Boskovsky Quartet with Philipp Matheis (2nd violin), Gunther Breitenbach (viola) and Nikolaus Hübner (violoncello). The Boskovsky Quartet, together with Johann Krump (double-bass), Alfred Boskovsky (clarinet), Josef Veleba (horn) and Rudolf Hanzl (bassoon) formed the Vienna Octet.
Boskovsky was also a Mozart performer: he recorded all the sonatas for violin and piano, with pianist Lili Kraus, and the complete trios for violin, piano and cello, with Kraus and Nikolaus Hübner for Les Discophiles Français. He played in Brahms' Double Concerto in A minor, Op.102, with Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting the Vienna Philharmonic.
His style appealed to many Strauss listeners as he directed Strauss' music in the manner of the "Vorgeiger", i.e. directing the orchestra with the violin just as Johann Strauss I popularised this form of conducting waltzes, polkas and other dance music alongside Strauss' rival Josef Lanner in the early 19th century. This tradition was also carried on by Johann Strauss II and Josef Strauss after their father's death. Boskovsky was sympathetic to the Strauss style. Apart from the Strauss family waltzes, Boskovsky recorded a 10-album cycle of the complete Mozart Dances and Marches, leading what Decca Records called the Vienna Mozart Ensemble (assorted members of the Vienna Philharmonic). Many of these recordings were included on the Philips/Polygram Complete Mozart series of CDs issued in the 1990s.
BRAHMS Double Concerto
Recorded in 1952
Total duration: 75:57
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Willi Boskovsky, violin
Emanuel Brabec, cello
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler
BRAHMS Symphony No. 1
BRAHMS Symphony No. 2
BRAHMS Symphony No. 3
BRAHMS Symphony No. 4
BRAHMS Double Concerto
BRAHMS Violin Concerto
BRAHMS Piano Concerto No. 2
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn
BRAHMS Hungarian Dances Nos. 1, 2, 10
BRAHMS Variations on a Theme by Haydn
SCHUMANN Piano Concerto in A minor
Willi Boskovsky, Emanuel Brabec, Yehudi Menuhin, Edwin Fischer, Walter Gieseking
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Lucerne Festival Orchestra
conducted by Wilhelm Furtwängler
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