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Aug 24, 2020

Rieu's Maastricht

 

André Rieu's Maastricht

"My concerts are like sex. I build it up for two hours and then: WHAMMM, the climax. Waving his index finger, the world renowned violinist and conductor, André Rieu speaks about his concert series which would have taken place on the now empty square. He is giving us an exclusive tour along the highlights of his Maastricht."

de Telegraaf, by Leroy van den Berg

The pandemic has brought the cultural sector to a standstill. Even André Rieu has been hit hard. All his concerts were cancelled, both abroad and as well as on the Maastricht Vrijthof, his home base. I do not want to do mandatory dismissals that I find terrible. I see our reserves drastically decreasing, but there is no speaking of bankruptcy".

With a slightly crackling voice: "If we can play again here next year, I'll do everything I can to make sure I don't have to dismiss anyone. I don't think I can prevent the tears from running once we are allowed to perform again." It oblivious affects the world renowned violinist a lot not being able to perform this year. "There are a few people who recognize me, which I like, but that's not why I am here. Normally I am here on this square (he points towards an empty spot) to be on stage playing,"

"The city of Maastricht is also missing out a lot in the way of income. That was like that fifteen years ago too when these concerts started, with the idea: we do everything together. The city, the entrepreneurs and I. Many entrepreneurs earn lots of money during these concerts. That is OK with me because I receive something  very valuable in return: a city which is one for a while."

From the Vrijthof we walk, via a figuratively tunnel  of people who are staring at us or taken pictures, to the next stop: the "Bonbonnière" on the Our Dear Lady's Square. Rieu's potential to light there for the first time in the former city theater of Maastricht. "This building represent the absolute beginning of everything" says the world star while we are being gawked at by bystanders.  A friendly lady asks for a picture. Rieu calmly acknowledges but maintains the 1.5 meter distance.

"OK, where was I. Ah yes, here is where we performed our first concerts  with my Salon Orchestra, in the foyer of the theatre, the so called "Lunch-break" concerts. We were only with five people then, two violinists, a cello, a piano-player and a contra-bass. Our passion was immediately appreciated. We made one thousand records and they were sold in no time. Back then we did a combination of classics and pop, which we still do."

"See that basilica back there?" Rieu continues. "I went there every Sunday as a child. I actually liked Catholicism. The togetherness which the church brought has now for a large part disappeared. That sense of belonging and theater I brought with me from the church. That happened unconsciously. The catholic church was also just theater?"

To the question whether religion still plays a role in his life, he answers firmly: "No, not at all anymore. I had a rather strict upbringing, and my wife too. Together we went into therapy to leave that part of our lives behind us. We then left the church too. It's just fine the way it is."  

Next stop: a residence which previously was a cafe. A place where Rieu in his early thirties started building his career. Even back then he was already a perfectionist.  "We would be performing there for three days in a row. Arrived there and found an unplayable piano. We turned around and came back the next day. Another piano but again unplayable. On the third day everything had finally been organized correctly."

"I am an enormous detail freak, and that has brought me to where I am now. In the past I would get angry when something did not suit me, but now I try to solve it with humor. I try to put everything into perspective, but sometimes it is necessary to make something clear. Are my employees afraid of me? No, absolutely not." Despite his friendly character, rieu was raised with an iron hand, His father was an egotistical man, He told us as we were walking by the house where Rieu lived during his adolescent years just outside the city gate. "My mother was also a cold person. My parents did not like what I was doing. My father only came to one of my concerts.

"I made a firm resolution to raise my children differently than the way they did it. I still think a lot about this question: Is a child formed through genes or by its upbringing? I think both. And also by the people you meet along the way. My wife Marjorie turned the tide for me. We both "fled" from our strict upbringing. When we both left our homes, it took us three weeks to catch up on our puberties. I had thrown my violin in the cupboard, and put in an earring. That phase did not last long, ha ha."

By way of a tiny building, the two wanted to start a pizzeria. "If you ordered "Pizza Paganini," named after the Italian violinist, then I would come and play at your table. Heavens, am I glad we did not pursue that," as we are walking back to the Vrijthof.

In the middle of the terraces, a bronze plate has been placed in the ground, a tribute by the city of Maastricht for the works by Rieu. "This plate means an awful lot to me," says Rieu. "It is the feather on my cap."

Time to finish the tour with one more favorite activity: to eat a real Limburg vlaai (pastry). Rieu orders four slices in Maastricht dialect. Reluctantly the waitress tells him that all the vlaai is gone. There is a little muttering and then he happily continues. It is going to be apple pie. "With whipped cream of course!!"

 Thanks for John's Translation and Ineke for the article  

3 comments:

England Fan said...

My, oh my, the story of my life too, although not in music. One job reference I had mentioned 'good sense of humour'. No wonder you succeed Andre.

Unknown said...

Merci à André pour ce texte avec ce tour emblèmatique des lieux qui comptent beaucoup pour lui dans sa ville et sa carrière. Cette année tout est malheureusement remis en question mais soyons tous optimistes avec André et espèrons que 2021 nous redonne le grand bonheur de revenir sur cette place du Vrijthof que nous aimons tant et retrouver cette belle musique qui nous manque tant . Courage cher Maestro. Amitiés de France ! Francine.

Sideditch said...

I can depend on my pet feline to cuddle in my arms whenever I have music of the Strasse Waltz Orchestra playing on my phone... animals know music as well as Love.

Salute to the pleasures you bring to Life.!
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Pierre and André September 30, 2016 Maastricht

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Photo Taken at Mexico City Concert ~ September 2013

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"Hello to all my fans on The Harmony Parlor!"

Soundcheck in Maastricht 2013 (RTL Photo)

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