Discover Eindhoven, The Netherlands in this catalogue of creative happenings

Chamber music in the green 2010

June 28th, 2010


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Like many of the events that Eindhoven puts on, the Kamermuziek in het Groen was an all family affair (although in the beginning I was a bit worried to notice I was one of very few people under 40). We were blessed by glorious weather, and I actually have no idea how many people came, but I wouldn’t be surprised whether 5,000 or more people made it to the Stadswandelpark for a rare but overdue injection of chamber music.

What’s interesting to me is the festival culture, in Eindhoven, but also in the Netherlands in general. Where I’m from we have festivals, but a city might be defined by one annual festival. For example the Wangaratta Jazz Festival is internationally renowned. The Port Fairy Folk Festival is another. These are multi-day festivals that do not require camping out in tents, but a week in wine country or a stay by the sea. The Kamermuziek in het Groen was a 5 hour affair, offering bite-sized chamber music – but really, fancy playing half of a Schumann piano trio! I wanted to hear all of it, but the attention span of this crowd was not anticipated for more than 20 minutes.  From podiums in sweet little marquees,  music that was written for a small audience in a small room was played in the open air to people who didn’t give a second thought to clambering out of a fold-up chair pew whilst the harpist was mid-pluck. Haydn competed with Schoenberg, accordeon music with children’s opera. I was worried that it would be noisy and terrible acoustic-wise, and while I was certainly a bit disappointed, I was surprised.

There were too many things to see that day; what we waited for was the Storioni Trio. I have seen them play once before and that was adventurous contemporary chamber music. On Sunday we were heard a vigorous rendition of the Haydn Piano Trio, Jacob’s dream, a cruel piece that takes revenge on the mediocre violinist who commissioned the piece. As each page turns, the technique becomes more and more demanding, to the point of true virtuosity, which Wouter Vossen executed with the humour befitting the setting. The Trio are off for a summer tour of Europe, starting in Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw this week, and then to Berlin, Kuhmo Finland and through the Netherlands in performances in July and September. The ultimate goal of this free event is to sell tickets for the upcoming season at the Muziekgebouw in Eindhoven. A tent was dedicated to subscriptions and ticket sales.

The day was relaxing, people kept streaming into the park to make a day of it. It was not a format I’m familiar with (and I just noticed on Sunday how much I miss) where there is one big podium and one big event, but it was a charming happening to encourage every man to hear old (but for many, new) music in a setting that is tranquil and lush.

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