André Rieu, Fit As a Fiddle
André Rieu lays flowers in BucharestHis tears were sincere and bitter - not the fake ones which stars tend to shed when they know that cameras are oriented on them. Whoever knows André Rieu (66) knows, that he - the main exporter of music of Dutch origin in the world - does not need to generate publicity at the expense of an intense grieving population. Last weekend André Rieu flew to Bucharest to especially help the Romanians in their grief over the now 47 fatalities who died in a nightclub fire.
"In June my orchestra and I were so amazingly received in Romania ... I considered it my solemn duty to express my condolences. To lay flowers at the site of the disaster and to light a candle. And yes, I burst into tears. The grief overwhelmed me."
But André Rieu, who will be donating the proceeds from the DVD recording of his Romanian concerts to the relatives of the perished, must go on. Saturday the violinist/conductor conducts a concert in the Arnhem Gelredome - and Friday the " Arrivederci Roma" CD and the "Wonderful World" DVD, a recording of the traditional appearances of Rieu on the Vrijthof in Maastricht, will be released.
And we thought that you would take it easier ...
"I exercise three times a week. My trainer puts down a mat, and I go to work. Push-ups, recovering. Really intensive. Yummy? Nah, I can tell you what I like, but they are not these workouts. Yet they are necessary. Twice as you know, I have been downed due to stress. The first time I was out of circulation for three months , but all salaries still had to be paid. My account showed large deficits. When it happened to me the second time - in bed where everything again spun before my eyes - I told myself: "Never again. Now I'm fit as a fiddle. But I have to maintain that."
Your new album is an ode to Italy, especially the capital.
"We love Rome. We go there every year with the entire family for our traditional three days. Also for the music, of course. Every time I am again fascinated by Rome. What the Romans accomplished 2000 years ago without computers, mobile phones and hydraulic equipment, is phenomenal".
"The Coliseum was built in four years. Well I do know that the Roman Empire was soaked in blood, but still ... Freek de Jonge once said: "The Delta Works are the last major thing the Dutch have achieved." And that's true. Let's take the ancient Romans as an example. We complain ourselves silly about our traffic jams, but do not do a thing about it. Could we not collectively put our shoulders to the grind stone"?
"I did it with the copy of Schönbrunn Palace. Unprecedented. I decided to stick 34 million into that dream. A huge irritancy to the bank. I suffered a phenomenal loss and did stick my neck out. By the way the finances are now entirely back in order again."
You just returned from South America and will soon travel to Britain and Ireland for an extensive tour. Are you ever at home anymore? With the holidays for example?
"Yeah, I try that as much as possible. Ivan and Fleur, Marc's children are now six and five, they expect another child in January. Pierre's twins, Linde and Lieke, are 6. They looked at the Sinterklaas Journal for the first time. With real black Peters, yes of course."
"I really hope that lady of the United Nations, who is so concerned about our wonderful Sinterklaas tradition, focuses on something else. Like for example, ISIS!! Come on now, there is not a more tolerant country than the Netherlands. We even pay for the mosques here. Try and build a church in Mecca. For me, Peter needs to remain just black."
Are you now carefully practicing your poetry?
"Really, I cannot do that. I'm stuck with 'poop' and 'doorstep'. " But a successful surprise will still happen. What did I do last year? Phew, let me think. Oh dear, I was not here then. I was in Dublin with the orchestra."
Do you still want to go the moon with the Johann Strauss Orchestra, as you once suggested?
"I'm waiting for the moment that Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group will build his hotel there. He promised me. "But I still have a lot of aspirations here on earth. Would still like to conquer the United States. I've been there several times, but now I would like to gain a sure footing there. It is a difficult audience, though. "Show us," they say there. They are incredibly spoiled. By the way, where are you from? Holland? Is that next to Denmark? They have no idea. They also want me to play American music, but I remain faithful to the waltz."
Do your grandchildren know that they have a famous grandfather?
"It is now dawning on them. But a famous grandfather? I am just an ordinary grandfather who loves his grandchildren. Pierre lives right around the corner from me, and he calls me "the stalker", because so often I come by just for the children".
"Marc and Pierre know that Marjorie and I are not babysitting grandparents. Our lives are too irregular. But when I'm in Mexico, I am definitely on Skype. And I always bring gifts from overseas. But now you notice that they have dates with their friends and Marjorie and I have become less important, until they are 17. Then it will be: "Grandpa, we're going on a weekend trip to Berlin. Can we borrow your car? " And of course they will get to use it."
Thanks to Ineke for the article and John for Translating it.