The program tonight:
Marius Flothuis – Cantus Amoris
Richard Strauss – Oboe Concerto played by Alexei Ogrintchouk
Dimitri Shostakovich Symphony No.5 in D minor, Op. 47
I was last at the Concertgebouw 20 years ago. I’ve discovered that like all other galleries and museums I’ve visited in recent times, both in Europe and the US, that you need to install a surrounding glass reception centre or cover the central courtyard in a glass structure to enclose the building….preferably you get an architect to do it but I.M Pei isn’t always available. The Concertgebouw is no exception. The other big change since i was last here was that there was no indoor smoking. Even the marijuana cafes one has to step outside if you want tobacco (so I’m told).
The Flothuis was an excellent and moving piece to start the program and of sentimental resonance for the band as he was a former music director.
The concerto and encore were played with great theatrics and drew a deserved standing ovation as did the Shostakovich. The conductor was awesome. Sitting in the North Balcony and looking over the podium from a 20-30 degree angle one could see all of the upper body and many of the facial gestures. There was fist pumping for the brusque basso military rhythms and and the baton was abandoned for fine hand movements in sections featuring the wood wind.
It must be a prerequisite that a conductor of the RCO must learn to bounce down the stairs from the second level to the podium and up again. He got his exercise and was clearly drenched in perspiration as he disappeared into the green room adjacent to the North Balcony as I exited into the rain of Amsterdam.