Monday, 01. January 201800.00 o' clock
Vienna ⁄ Musikverein ⁄ The Große Musikvereinssaal
Boarding musik for Austrian Airlines
Whenever and wherever you board an Austrian Airlines aircraft, you will be greeted by the sounds of the Austrian ‘King of the Waltz’, Johann Strauss II, and other Austrian composers. But how is the music actually reproduced on board – and who’s playing it?
The Blue Danube Waltz is generally viewed by Austrians as the countryʼs unofficial national anthem! Thatʼs why your arrival in Austria begins the moment you board the aircraft – with a smile from the cabin crew, naturally, and a lively waltz in your ear providing an unmistakable acoustic element. This is also where the search for the music perfectly suited to the aircraft of Austrian Airlines begins. First let us take a look at one of the world’s best-known concert halls, the Golden Hall at Vienna’s Musikverein. The Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra, one of the world’s leading ensembles specialising in high-quality interpretation of the music of the Strauss family and their contemporaries, has performed there regularly since the 1980s, under the trusted direction and sheet guidance of conductors Alfred Eschwé and Johannes Wildner. Selected concerts at the Musikverein have been recorded for CD and TV productions, along with numerous studio recordings. Should be the perfect basis for playing the music in the cabin – shouldnʼt it? Actually, itʼs not quite that simple. The laws of acoustics on an aircraft are very different from those that apply to the stereo in your living room at home. In the cabin, a special acoustic situation is created not just by the positioning of the speakers, but also by the level of noise produced by the air-conditioning and other passengers. The job of producing the boarding music for the Austrian Airlines fleet presented a uniquely complex challenge, therefore – particularly for sound engineer Georg Burdicek. Classical music, especially that of the Strauss dynasty, is brought to life by a range of factors including sharp distinctions in dynamics between its quietest pianissimo and powerful forte fortissimo. For this reason, it was first necessary to bring the different volumes of individual works to a unified level, as the volume can’t constantly be turned up and down on an aircraft, of course. This manual volume adjustment requires a vast amount of experience, knowledge and instinctive feeling. Acoustic adjustments shouldn’t rob music of its special charm, after all. After several test runs in the Austrian hangar, the right balance was achieved. This was then optimised further still at Viennaʼs ”tonzauber“ recording studio, to guarantee passengers would enjoy the perfect audio experience despite the diffcult playback conditions on aircraft. The result has been playing on Austrian aircraft since September 2017. To complement the recordings by the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra, the airline succeeded in working with the renowned Vienna Chamber Orchestra, a classical counterpart to the lighthearted music of the Strauss family, with recordings by Josef Haydn, W.A. Mozart and Franz Schubert. The end-result is a diverse cross-section of Austrian music, interpreted by two of the country’s leading orchestras.
Two strong partners Austrian
Airlines and the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra have been collaborating for over 20 years now. The orchestra has produced the CDs especially for Austrian Airlines, while the airline has own its musicians to concert venues worldwide, making a crucial contribution to the global dissemination of the music, and the success of the orchestra. For the orchestra, it is a special pleasure, and an honour, to carry the music of the Strauss dynasty out around the world – and use it to inspire people – together with Austrian Airlines. From February 2018 onwards, Austrian Airlines passengers will be able not just to enjoy the boarding music, but also to listen exclusively to the orchestraʼs newly published recordings as part of the in flight entertainment programme on all long-haul routes. The orchestra is especially pleased to have had the opportunity to lend its name to an aircraft from the Embraer fleet. From February 2018 onwards, an aircraft named after the Vienna Johann Strauss Orchestra will begin flying passengers to their destinations throughout Europe.