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After having performed the "Concert for Europe" in the park of Schönbrunn Palace annually since 2004, the Vienna Philharmonic presented in this unique setting the first annual "Sommernachtskonzert Schönbrunn" on June 3, 2008, which despite inclement weather conditions was attended by more than 60,000 people. Georges Prêtre, who celebrated a sensational debut at the 2008 New Year's Concert, conducted a program of Viennese, Spanish, and French music. The waltz "Wiener Blut", op. 354, by Johann Strauss was followed by the Rosenkavalier-Suite, op. 59, of Richard Strauss. The "Spanish March", op. 433, of the Waltz King provided a fitting transition into Emanuel Chabrier's virtuosic orchestral rhapsody, "Espana", which was followed by the "Barcarole" from Jacques Offenbach's opera "The Tales of Hoffman", before Maurice Ravel's "La Valse", a fascinating and at the same time harrowing treatment of the Viennese waltz ended the official program. The encores began with the Hungarian March (Rákóczi-Marsch) from the opera "La damnation de Faust" by Hector Berlioz, followed by the "Moonlight Music" from the opera "Capriccio" of Richard Strauss, with which Georges Prêtre had made his debut at the Vienna State Opera in 1962. After these came the "Orpheus-Quadrille", op. 236, by Johann Strauss, which also had received enormous applause at the New Year's Concert. Serving as the final conclusion of the evening was a composition which had never appeared previously on any Vienna Philharmonic concert program: Leroy Anderson's (1908-1975) "Bugler's Holiday", featuring Hans Peter Schuh, Reinhold Ambros and Stefan Haimel.
The concert was broadcast live on Austrian television and picked up by six additional stations, acquiring a viewing audience in Austria of some 442,000 persons, which amounts to a 20% market share. It should also be noted that the number of viewers remained constant throughout the duration of the broadcast, and that Austrian Television continued with the broadcast, even though the originally intended broadsast time had to be extended considerably.