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Today is Levée Day in PEI and in the Capital Charlottetown 44 Levée took place. This year I worked at my Club to greet our visitors who came to pay their respects. We had 750 visitors, I shook hands with all of them and wished them all a Happy New Year. In the Ballroom, Moose Milk was served with a very generous dose of Jamaican Rum. Lots of fruit cake and cookies also and the Club Bar was open. The great Parlour had a roaring fire going and our house musician played on the piano waltzes and other dance music of the 1880 to 1900 period. We also had for good measure lots of sunshine streaming into the large Italianate windows. It is amazing to see so many people all in the space of 3 hours.

A very funny incident, it really made me smile, one of our visitor was upstairs in what use to be the bedrooms and office of the Lowden Family. On the wall an old telephone, the model is the type we all had in our kitchens in the 1960-70, it is black and rotary dial. It still works perfectly but for a person under 35 it gets strange looks. This person was I would say about 25 years old and she said to her friend; my grandmother had such a phone in her kitchen but I don’t think I know how to use it. I told her it still worked fine, she was amazed, how could that be. So I told her to go and try it,  she picked up the receiver and heard the dial tone. Her friend then told her what number to dial and bingo they got to speak to another family member in town. Much amazement and giggling over this experience. I could not help laughing at this, so very strange to me, I went in my lifetime from the rotary, to touch tone to pocket phones to iPhones with face time. Makes you feel old but at the same time think that you have lived through a lot of change.

When I came home I went to look for the Vienna New Year’s day Concert from the Musikverein, which celebrates 150 years in 2020. The Conductor this year was the Latvian Andris Nelsons.  Also this year the Salzburg Music Festical is 100 years old, when the Salzburg Festival in Austria was first held, in the summer of 1920, it consisted of just half a dozen performances of Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s morality play “Jedermann” (“Everyman”). Since then, the festival has grown into one of the grandest events on the world’s cultural calendar. It will celebrate its centennial in the summer with more than 200 performances in 44 days of operas, symphonies, concerts and plays. Music with a local angle by Mozart (Salzburg’s favorite son) and Richard Strauss (one of the festival’s founders) will be featured. We went to Salzburg for the Festival several years in a row and taking in up to 3 concerts a day, all in formal dress.

In 2020 it is also Ludwig Van Beethoven’s 250th Birthday born in Bonn, North Rhine Westphalia in today’s Germany and spent most of his life in Austria.

Here is an excerpt of today’s concert. If you wonder about all the masses of flowers in the Golden Saal they are provided by the Public Works dept of the City of Vienna each year.

Then for dinner, Will cooked a very tender pork loin and ratatouille with roasted potatoes and we had a bottle of champagne, it is New Year’s Day after all!

Hope you had a good New Year and that it will continue all during the year.

Seid umschlungen Millionen • Johann Strauss II composed and dedicated to his friend Johannes Brahms in 1892.