Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014 part 29

Fringe Concert: van der Werff and de Vries

After the heavenly concert by the Cantores Sancti Gregorii in the Grote Zaal of Tivoli-Vredenburg (see part 28), a long walk to the Kathedrale Koorschool enabled me to adjust to life on earth again.

Just as well, for I was in for a shock. Quite wrongly I presumed a cathedral choir school would be the perfect location for an early music concert. Especially a concert where music from the lute book of Landgrafin Elisabeth von Hessen would be heard. A performance which was a combination of song and lute music dating from the late 16th and early 17th century.

Surprise: this school was by far the most unsuitable venue of the festival. The audience had to climb flights of stairs to what was a school room looking like a gym. Hard wooden benches without any back support and like those lining a gym, had been placed against one wall. School tables, chairs, blackboard, several pianos stood on the other side.

When staff noticed there were over 20 people who had not bothered to queue for tickets extra chairs were placed inside the schoolroom. So why the f*ck order people who want to attend fringe concerts in venues like this one – with limited seating – to bl**dy queue for close to an hour to obtain tickets?

I was livid! But after my earlier outburst (see part 26), I kept my mouth shut. This organisation was totally not interested in whatever happened at or around their fringe concerts.

One does not need to be bright to conclude that a school room, looking like its gym, is not exactly the best place for a voice and lute ensemble – or any other ensemble for that matter.

Fortunately, I remembered the duo from an earlier festival. So knew I was not in for an ensemble I would never ever want to hear again.

Their selected music was taken from a book of Landgrafin Elisabeth von Hessen. It all was nice enough – but average. I was glad I was able to hurry out without having to hear the encore. The duo, familiar with the scheduling of fringe and other concerts, as well as with concert locations being all over Utrecht, told those in the audience who needed to leave for another concert, to just do so.

Of the selected pieces, those by John Dowland were overly familiar. The same held for the song by Thomas Robinson. However, the pieces by Elisabeth von Hessen and Georg Schimmelpfennig, Enrico Antonio Radesca, Moritz Landgraf von Hessen, and Lorenzini di Roma were new to me. But all in all, though this fringe concert was okay – it was definitely not of the level of, nor such an impressive performance as for instance the fringe concerts by Ensamble del Nuevo Mundo (see part 4) or Ensemble Trença (see part 7) and many others. It certainly did not impress like some fabulous fringe concerts either. Especially not, after the previous concert (see part 28) But at least it was not as awful as the dreadful concert by ensemble Arcata (see part 21).

One thing was certain: I would never ever attend another concert at the lousy Kathedrale Koorschool. Though Pandorra or Plein 5 at Tivoli-Vredenburg came close, this was by far the worst venue I had sat in.

Early Music Festival Utrecht 2014: van der Werff and de Vries, 5th of September 2014, 14:00, Kathedrale Koorschool.

Ensemble van der Werff and de Vries:
Paulien van der Werff soprano
Gert de Vries lute

For the duo’s website: van der Werff and de Vries


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