Richard Strauss evolved from a decadent modernist at the end of of the nineteenth century to melodic walser melodies and bittersweet opera's like "der Rosenkavalier", a comedy about life and customs in Vienna. He was a German nationalist loving the German culture, yet abhorred the barbarians of the fascist regime under Hitler. The day started out with the "Filharmonie" performing "Ein Heldenleben". But let me start at the real beginning: The first violin enters the stage and bows, then the others filter in and the tuning begins: fine tuning, listening in the wondrous chaos of sound to one's own instrument and hearing the sound you are looking for.
The ritual has to be performed: The conductor comes, shakes hands with the first violin and greets the second violin. Silence, serenity and goose bumps when the whole orchestra in harmony resounds. Ein Heldenleben: I am naive in music, know nothing yet I am floored, touched, moved, fascinated, feel the vibrations of this large orchestra in my body and bones, feel anger at the military tones and am moved to tears. The instruments are flutes, clarinets, hobos, horns saxophones, wood flute, cello, in the percussion section drums and other kinds of instruments... After that I had to go out be outside and let it all sink in. The day want on as grandiose as it started. the Fauré Quartet was a it more lighthearted and The Arabian dance made me smile. They Quartet was followed after a break by soprano Elizabeth Watts and Roger Vignoles at the piano. I like her attitude, the kind of irreverence going a along with great voice technique. Then there was a male choir and after that a mixed choir. The songs were irreverent, fun, playful things. And the day ended around 10 pm after having seen a silent movie from 1926 about der Rosenkavalier while the orchestra performed the whole opera... What a day... only possible thanks to the collaborative effort of deSingel, deFilharmonie and the Royal Conservatorium Antwerpen, AP Hogeschool.