Monday, February 25, 2013

Amsterdam's Mozart Requiem

Remember back in December when we went to the Christmas concert at the St. Martinuskerk in Amersfoort, ca. 30 miles east of where we live here in Gorinchem, NL?  And how one thing led to another...namely that the PR man of the choral series, Peter Streefkerk, gave us 2 tickets for another concert in appreciation for my images?!

The concert we choose was the Mozart Requiem in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw. 4 reasons:
  1. I had sung Mozart's requiem in the Columbia, SC, Choral Society back in 1971.
  2. I have always wanted to see the inside of Amsterdam's Concertgebouw after seeing the outside many times.  It's considered one of the world's top concert halls because of its acoustics.
  3. Mozart never finished this piece before dying in 1791:  he was 35 years old!  The movie Amadeus is one of my favorites which I'm now eager to see again.
  4. We wanted to pick a concert in February, before our up-coming river cruise in March (yes, you heard me).
No sooner had we picked our concert than Peter had the above tickets in the mail to us for last Sunday,
a week ago, on a gloriously crisp and sunny winter's day.

We were there in plenty of time to mosey along from here to there.
It helps that we both are familiar with the city!
The famous Magere Bridge and Heineken Experience just happened to be on our way.
Interestingly, that's the Amstel River...and another beer altogether.

 Did I mention that the Concertgebouw faces the Rijksmuseum from across the Museumplein?
It's getting ready to show Rembrandt's Night Watch after years of museum renovation.
Once you see it, you never forget it, trust me.

But it was the Concertgebouw that held our interest this day, even if in the shadows.
At least the entrance around the corner (bottom above) was in the light.

Our seats were in the North Balcony, so first thing was to climb the stairs.
Talk about red-carpet treatment.

And before we did anything, we peeked in and found our seats while the place was still basically empty.
From the stage viewpoint (top left) we saw our balcony (top middle).
Little by little the heavenly space started filling up.

But first, we went for our gratis drink that came with our tickets.
Did I mention red-carpet treatment?!
And don't you love how Het Concertgebouw marks the stop line for the wine!

The Concert Hall's organ, built in 1891, is it's crown jewel.

But as you can imagine, I was short of eyes, bouncing off all the walls!
Schumann was right behind us.  Mozart was in front of us on the opposite wall.
All the ghosts of music past wrapped themselves around the hall.

 When the concert master started tuning up the strings...ahhh, it would begin.
It really was gonna happen!

Have you ever seen this kind of basset horn?  It was new to me.
Mozart asked for 2 of them and got them.
(click any image/collage to enlarge)

During the concert the tympani was hidden from us, under the balcony.
But I had fun watching her tune it up beforehand.


So all these images are before and after pieces, often during applause.
Don't you love the prima donna...standing out like a sore thumb brilliant jewel!

Not to mention the conductor, Pieter Jan Leusink!
It really doesn't get any better than this....

...or this!  
They deserved every accolade in the book.

I wanted to watch them coming and going over and over again...
especially for the encore, which is my favorite piece of the Requiem:  Dies irae.
(Yes, I sang along under my breath!)

mozart requiem - dies irae door algeva

We hated to leave, but loved seeing Conductor Pieter signing his autograph in the downstairs lobby.
What a great way to end a beautiful concert!

We ended the beautiful day at one of our favorites, Wagamama.
And then picked up our car at the AJAX arena for our hour's drive home.

This was a Christmas that kept on giving.  We'll never forget it!


  1. that must have been incredible experience. i could only imagine the sweet music surrounding the hall.

    river cruise!!!!!!!

    1. It was better than incredible, Maria. We're still pinching ourselves. And it was on such a beautiful February day! We couldn't have asked for anything better!

      The river cruise is coming up on March 16, from Amsterdam to Budapest. But more on that later....! :)

  2. This was a wish coming true. I had never seen the Concertgebouw from the inside. The concert was fabulous, a joy from beginning until the end and even beyond that.
    The pictures show that we were short of eyes. Pure delight.
    Thank you for these wonderful collages. It shows what a wonderful day we had

    1. Hartstikke bedankt, MLMA. it was even better than we expected, which is saying a lot, since we knew it would be fabulous. I love that we'll have these images forever to remember such a great day!

  3. You certainly had a wonderful experience. What a good thing it is that you always have your camera with you! Love the shots of the lady with the big drum.

    1. It was better than wonderful, Sham! I almost didn't take my camera with me when I found out photos were not allowed during rhw concert...because of the noise! I thought...well, maybe that means I can take pictures when there's applause? So I just did it. I don't think anyone minded. Thanks.

  4. Wow! What a fabulous experience!! be in Amsterdam again! One day we WILL go to Wagamama, ha! Just can't wait to see captures from your river cruise. So exciting! xoxo

    1. The next time you come, Robin, I promise we will eat at Wagamama. :) I hope it's sooner than later. In the meantime, we'll see you in your beautiful NYC, and THAT will be something!

  5. Every single thing is heavenly. Listening to the music while typing is just the perfect accompaniment. I LOVE how you and Astrid enjoy every single thing you do to the max. So you well deserve to have such a phenomenal experience in payment for your photos.


    1. Thank you, dear sister. We keep pinching ourselves every time one of these events happens. Just think how lucky we are in this day and age to be able to record our memories like this!

  6. What a magical evening you had! and in such a beautiful space. You share so much of your life here and I enjoy each & every visit.

    1. It was a magical afternoon, Susan, and I just realized I forgot to mention this concert was at 2:15p. on a Sunday afternoon. I love that I can share these events in our lives so that we never forget them...and so you, too, can see them!

  7. It must have been an impressive experience, Ginnie, and I enjoyed thoroughly the Dies Irae piece you've provided the video of. I was even listening to a few more pieces I was lead to. I like the Amadeus film too and you made me want to see it again. :) The film is quite special to me because it's not only excellent but also directed by Miloš Forman who comes from the Czech Republic (or more precisely from the former Czechoslovakia) and who is a very talented director.

    1. Oh, WOW, Petra. I had no idea about who directed "Amadeus." Now I want to see it again all that much more! In fact, I'm trying to buy a copy from eBay to have waiting for me when we're in Atlanta later this year. It's a small world after all! Thank you.

  8. Just added the 1984 Amadeus to my Netflix. Thanks - I have never seen it. "All the ghosts of music past"... I can only imagine the shivers that went up and down and through your bodies!!! Wow.

    1. As I recall, Margaret, Amadeus was not totally easy to see. Mozart was portrayed as such a wild playboy. He was only 35 when he died. When I was in Salzburg years ago, I toured his house and found out how he and his sister played duets for most of their childhood...but of course, no one ever hears about her, only him! If/when you do see the movie, let me know your reaction to it. I still plan to buy a copy on eBay.

    2. I will let you know. His sister was probably quite talented.... but "just" a girl so it wasn't pursued. ;P