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Violinist André Rieu has become the first classical instrumentalist ever to reach number two in the UK pop album charts with his album 'Forever Vienna'.
Sales of the Dutchman’s album of Viennese dance music, 'Forever Vienna', overtook those of albums by established pop artists including Florence and the Machine, Lady Gaga and Cheryl Cole.
Forever Vienna has been at the top of The Official Classic FM Chart since its release six weeks ago. Shops ran out of copies during the week of its release and after three weeks it went Gold.
This is the first time ever that a CD of nineteenth-century music has made it into the pop charts. Rieu’s album is the latest success for the waltz, which has been popularised recently across the UK by prime-time television shows.
The only other classical instrumentalist to have come close to making this impact in the pop charts is Nigel Kennedy. He reached third place with his recording of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons over 20 years ago.
Rieu’s charismatic performances have the audience dancing in the aisles and he has acquired a huge following internationally through many overseas tours. He says of this latest achievement: ‘The waltz encapsulates all emotions in life, and this is why people love it. This UK pop chart position is proof of that, so of course I am thrilled.'
Forever Vienna features Rieu and his Johann Strauss Orchestra in a selection of waltzes, polkas and other dances. Aside from many popular works by Johann Strauss II, such as The Blue Danube and Thunder and Lightning Polka, the CD also includes Ravel’s Bolero, Shostakovich’s Second Waltz, Verdi’s Carnaval de Venise and works by Léhar.