Quite a few months ago I had booked a trip to Amsterdam – it ticked the bill in value for money and bucket list points – not that I have actually written a bucket list – but hey ho off to Amsterdam we shall go…..
Well the trip and came and went last week – a break of less than 48 hours – just one night away – that seemed much longer.
Walking round Amsterdam soaking up the atmosphere (quite literally on Thursday with the rain).
Sorting out Vermeer’s from Van Gough and Rembrandt and trying mint tea.
Trying not to get mown down by a bike or falling in a canal.
The highlight was going to see the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at the Concert-Gebouw, where they performed Beethoven’s 8th and 9th Symphonies, conducted by the marvellous Ivan Fischer. Arguably were were a bit too close to the stage – but the tickets were affordable – from our seats you could really appreciate the effort, musicianship and artistry. Seeing and hearing the 4 solo vocalists in the 4th movement of the 9th was thrilling and informative. All 4, Papatanasiu, Fink, Fritz and Finley were in fantastic voice that seemed perfect for the 190 year old score – but it is unfair just to highlight these 4, brilliant as they were, everyone seemed on top form. The long, standing ovation was well deserved and appeared to be appreciated – the violinists we were close to had moist eyes.
I will now be able to listen at home with a more informed ear on what orchestral music really sounds like.
Now to find a good concert programmes with Janáček’s Sinfonietta and then maybe Bartok’s Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta (hopefully by the Budapest Festival Orchetra).