The Beethoven Journey in Bonn

10 October 2014
Cindy Albracht

Cindy Albracht



Quite excited I arrived in Dortmund for my first tour with Leif Ove Andsnes playing all the Beethoven Piano concertos.

The orchestra had already played so many concerts with Leif Ove around Europe with this repertoire, as well as recorded all the concertos! The CD set with the complete cycle will be released in October by Sony Classical.

Being the daughter of a pianist I seem to have inherited a deep love for and connection with the classical piano repertoire. This, in combination with my love for Beethoven (.. a bottomless treasure box..), caused my joining the Beethoven cycle with Leif Ove and my wonderful MCO at this stage to be an incredible experience. So much work, searching, feeling, analysing, growing, maturing, so much performing experience had already been built. I joined a flexible, steady, utterly sensitive and refined music group!

We rehearsed in Dortmund and travelled between Bonn and Hamburg to play the whole series of concertos in both cities. How special to be in Bonn, the city where Beethoven was born in 1770, a period in his life when he could still hear.

There are concerts which are good, concerts which are excellent, and occasionally concerts of a rare calibre which I will remember the rest of my life, from which I remember musical details, (& Beethoven facial expressions of other colleagues :-)) and atmospheres. In this tour there were two of those magnificent concerts for me, the first one in Bonn and the last one in Hamburg. Standing ovations and many returns to the stage for Leif Ove, until he gave his encore, two of Beethoven's Bagatelles.

The other concerts had unforgettable features as well by the way, for example the one in Bonn where in the middle of the first movement of the 3rd concerto the stage suddenly got enveloped in a green light. Lots of anti-giggling muscle training on my part, but Leif Ove continued without seeming to notice, in deep concentration on his beautiful playing.  
As if Beethoven gave his divine approval for the project ;-)

Alongside the Beethoven works with Leif Ove we played Stravinsky: the Concerto in Re, Apollon Musag├Ęte, and the Dumbarton Oaks concerto, with Matthew Truscott leading immaculately. And in between the many hours of rehearsals, there was the culmination of our Feel the Music project.

Feel the music, what a great title for any concert!
The whole project is so touching.

50 hearing impaired children from Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic, and Germany chose two songs from their countries and performed the songs with us, with Leif Ove, and the beautifully singing girls' choir from the Dom in Essen. The girls' choir actually sang the songs, the children stood in front of them and translated the music in gestures, movement and facial expressions, MCO and Leif Ove accompanied.

Their excitement was so contagious; they were so focussed on their performance and enjoyed obviously all aspects of it. Interesting to notice for myself was how strong their presence and performance added to my own feeling the music. Feeling the music, a precious experience which anyone can explore endlessly, and which only adds to the experience of music, whether you are a performer or a listener.

Thank you unforgettable children!