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Sep 29, 2014

André Rieu "Money is not my motivation"

Waltz king André Rieu
 "Money is not my motivation"

Maastricht/Vienna (APA) - André Rieu is somewhat like the Woody Allen of Classical Business: Tirelessly the soon to be the 65-year-old publishes one CD after another and is just under a third of the year on tour with his Johann Strauss Orchestra. The latest album called "Love in Venice" will be released on October 31. And whoever would like to experience the waltz king in person has the chance on January 17th in Salzburg, Austria.

For this CD Rieu typically combines the genre of the great Italian hits of "O sole mio", "Volare" and "Azzurro", and arranges them just like the classics of the "Barcarole" by Offenbach. And of course Johann Strauss is also on board the musical gondola with the lagoon waltz. And finally this time Rieu recorded three of his own original compositions - "Love in Venice", "La Gondola" and "Bella Tarantella".

Shortly before his 65th birthday which will be on Wednesday (October 1) the chart favorite and for this special occasion gave an interview in his castle in Maastricht to Dutch journalist about the idea of retiring, the expressions and ideas of his orchestra musicians and his feeling when he plays "The Blue Danube Waltz" for the 3,000th time.

Question: From where does your style of romance come from? 
Rieu: I am often asked whether I would like to have lived in the time of Johann Strauss or in Vivaldi's time in Venice. The answer is no. I like to combine the romance of that time with todays. I'm totally crazy about iPhones and apps.

Question: What exactly is the secret of the typical Rieu sounds? 
Rieu: there are no tricks to that; my heart just tells me how to play those pieces. If Strauss would hear me somewhere on a cloud, I hope he is happy. When I'm on stage I try to interpret the music in all honesty. And thank God the works of Strauss are so awesome. At about every concert I play the "Blue Danube Waltz" - 100 times per year and have been doing so for 30 years. But it never bores me, because it's such a gorgeous piece.

Question: Given that your 65th birthday is forthcoming and to retire right now for you is not an issue? 
Rieu: I could not possibly imagine that! One only retires when one works. I do not work – I have fun. Of course sometimes it is exhausting, but when I'm with my orchestra, gives me incredible energy. It's like people who run a mom-and-pop store. They do not retire either, but go on and on. Okay - I have 100 people in my employ, which is more than at a Mom and Pop store of course. But this is my life. And when I no longer can go on, I will not go on any more- but it is not that close yet.

Question: In addition to so many mature fans you also have numerous young followers. How do you explain that? 
Rieu: This is, I think, because my music still has so much feeling. And children do not think, they feel. There still is a violin boom in all the music schools in Holland – of which I'm very proud.

Question: You are known at your concerts for the effects, the costumes and all the pomp. Was that concept one of your own ideas? 
Rieu: I developed that myself. I find classical orchestras sometimes to be a bit boring. When I sat there for the first time as a violinist, I immediately thought: here I do not want to become old and developed my own ideas for my own orchestra. Why are the beautiful ladies always dressed up in black and have a face as if they are dead already?! Why not bring a little happiness into your life? Because that is not only true in music. With more laughter in life there would be less war. The world is much too serious. I really mean that. I do not want to bring an even closer understanding of the classics to the great mass - that is not my message. I just want to make music my way and be happy on stage. That is what I like to radiate.

Question: How costly will the new tour be for the album "A Night in Venice"? 
Rieu: You know I once had Schönbrunn Palace copied and then I was broke. I was 34 million Euros in debt. But the bank let me go on, and the following year we had recovered our debt. But I promised my wife not to do something like that ever again. The current tour is now taking place with the full orchestra, choir, soloists, large LED screen and beautiful scenery. We play the most beautiful Italian melodies, but also have the Berlin Comedian Harmonists with us this time; we play many waltzes and melodies from opera, operetta, musicals and film. I do not build castles any more.

Question: For the last five years now, you have been dealing very proactive with your financial problems. Where does this frankness come from? 
Rieu: Why should I hide it? It is a part of life, and I do not see this as a failure. When you have a dream, you must follow it. And I'm not doing this for the money. Money is not what drives me; otherwise I would be selling oil pipelines, would be unknown, but much richer.

Question: You travel with your tours around the globe, but still live in your home town of Maastricht. From where do these home ties come from? 
Rieu: Maastricht is a beautiful city, and we have everything here. Here I can compose in peace. On the new album there are three of my compositions, which are all dedicated to Venice, including a tarantella. When my four year old granddaughter heard them for the first time, she shouted: "Pizza!!!" She immediately thought of Italy, which I thought to be a nice compliment. And my studio is located only a few minutes from my castle, which is a big advantage. As a child I always thought how fantastic it would be to have a castle - and here as a five year old, I received piano lessons. And then many years later when on a walk with my wife I said: "That castle I would like to have." She just answered: "But you still have to sell a couple more records." And that is what I did.


Thanks to John for the ©Translation 

1 comment:

Francine Chavanon said...

J'adore cet article qui montre une fois de plus, combien André est un homme simple, qui a su faire de la musique, un bonheur total, ses concerts sont merveilleux et on en garde un souvenir inoubliable. J'espère qu'il continuera le plus longtemps possible à apporter la joie au monde entier. Merci et GOD BLESS YOU André! Francine.

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