Classical Music Review: Symphonie Atlantique

The Kloosterkerk was quite full. It is the only remnant left of what was once a fourteenth century cloister (Dutch klooster) built with money provided by Margareth of Cleve, wife of the then Bavarian count who owned The Hague. The cloister church regularly hosts short lunch concerts with a focus on early music.

Word must have gone round that today’s concert would be special. The ensemble “Symphonie Atlantique” from The Hague were going to perform. They are not just any early music group. The musicians play on replicas of or actual period instruments. Members research playing and performance techniques, as well as notation of the 19th century. Earlier this year, they performed in a rendering of a Gluck opera in the old library of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. In 2015, they will participate in a pioneering performance of Handel’s Giulio Cesare in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw.

So it goes without saying, that a short lunch concert by such an important ensemble is a real treat and draws a large crowd. After a short introduction to the three composers and the selected pieces, the Symphonie Atlantique started their concert.

One of my guests was impressed by the number of musicians on stage for Louis Spohr’s Nonet. Of this piece, the allegro and finale were performed. It was followed by the Rondo Allegretto from Mozart’s Symphony Concertante KV 452. The concert concluded with the Adagio and Andante from von Beethoven’s Septet Opus 20.

All pieces were of course brilliantly and perfectly performed. I would have loved to have used the opportunity to ask the musicians about the playing techniques they are researching and the role of the concertmaster. Before the concert started, the audience had specifically been invited to meet the musicians after their concert to ask them questions. It is always so nice that musicians are willing to make time for their audience and not trot off and disappear the moment the applause stops.

But as I feared none of my guests would be fascinated by early music technicalities or even the instruments, I reluctantly left the church with my friends in search of a café.

If you are in Amsterdam on Sunday the 12th of April 2015, Händel’s Gulio Cesare will be performed in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw from 13:15. Tickets start at 35 Euro.

Kloosterkerk The Hague, Wednesday 15th October 2014, concert Symphonie Atlantique:
Spohr Nonet Op 31
W.A. Mozart Symphony Concertante arr KV 452
L. von Beethoven Septet Op 20

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