This is a time of year favouring the froth and frivolity of the Viennese Waltz, as witnessed by several New Year Concerts.
Those concerts by the Ulster Orchestra continue tonight and tomorrow night at the Waterfront in Belfast.
The waltz may well have been popularised by the famous Strauss family in Vienna, but its origins predate them by well over a century. As the orchestral waltz progressed in Austria into becoming symbolic of the style of the later nineteenth century, a parallel exploration was being undertaken by composers writing for the piano.
But it was in the delicate salon pieces by Fryderyk Chopin (pictured) that the waltz saw its most imaginative and sophisticated creations. His collection of fourteen waltzes captured the characteristic rhythms and the subtleties of the form, but ironically were more than likely divorced entirely from the physical dance itself.
2010 marks the bicentenary of Chopin’s birth. Amongst the many celebrations, there will be a Chopin Festival staged by the Ulster Orchestra Society at the end of January.