We're getting onto New Year's. Time to break out the Johann Strauss for his once-a-year airing. But more than anything by Strauss, this piece by Otto Nicolai is probably my all-time favorite piece of light classical music. Conducted by Carlos Kleiber, my candidate for the most gifted conductor who ever lived (which is different from saying the greatest). Only Thomas Beecham ever did this piece as well. I've always thought Kleiber's light music fetish would be a bit like Ian McKellen starring in a Judd Apatow movie (admit it, that would be AWESOME), but he really is just as fantastic at this as he is at Beethoven. If it doesn't put you in a good mood, nothing does.