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Vredenburg Friday in 'Red Box' for one more season

When Muziekcentrum Vredenburg closed its doors in 2007 for an ambitious renovation, symphonic concerts were moved from the centre of Utrecht to the emergency location Vredenburg Leidsche Rijn on the A2 motorway. The broadcasting series 'Vredenburg Friday' moved into this temporary home, which was soon renamed the 'Red Box'. Against all odds, programmer Astrid in 't Veld managed to develop the fledgling concert series there into a crowd pleaser: while attendance numbers declined nationwide, attendance here increased by twenty per cent. Over 2,600 subscriptions were sold last season, and the live broadcasts on Radio 4 are listened to excellently.

Last week, the brochure of the ninth season of The Vredenburg Friday on the mat, the last to take place at Vredenburg Leidsche Rijn. Among other things, this will commemorate the hundred and fiftieth birthday of Richard Strauss (1864-1949), with the six-part series 'The Last Romantic'. Popular symphonic poems such as Also sprach Zarathustra (famous from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick), Ein Heldenleben and Tod und Verklärung come to life, but his orchestral songs are not missing either. Among others, Canadian 'Strauss soprano' Adrianne Pieczonka sings three of the Vier letzte Lieder.


If the Treaty of Utrecht is the thread running through the current season, pacifism also plays a role in the new sub-series 'Four jubilarians'. Polish Witold Lutosławski (1913-1994) opposed the Soviet dictatorship and used pacifism in his Concert for orchestra disparate rhythms as a symbol of peaceful coexistence. Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) migrated to America just before the outbreak of World War II, where he developed his melancholic Serenade for tenor, horn and strings composed. Dutch Hans Henkemans (1913-1995) was in the resistance and is represented with the French-tinged Partita for orchestra. Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) began his life as a flier, but he came to repentance after a friend's tragic accident. His choral works include Un soir de neige and Litanies à la vierge noire. Just a shame that female jubilarian Alma Mahler (1879-1964) is missing: her 50th death anniversary in 2014 would have fitted nicely into this list.

Besides these dead grandmasters, two special jubilarians will be put in the spotlight: Hungarian conductor and composer Peter Eötvös and Dutch conductor and organist Ton Koopman. Both will celebrate their 70th birthdays in 2014. A celebration with a black edge, by the way: they were both chief conductors of the Radio Kamerorkest for many years, which merged into the Radio Kamer Filharmonie in 2005, which will be disbanded as of the new season. Eötvös therefore leads the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra in the Dutch premiere of its Violin Concerto DoReMi, with American-Japanese violinist Gotō Midori; Koopman devotes a programme to Bach with his own Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra.

Due to the dissolution of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, several guest ensembles will perform in the coming season, including Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Harmonie Universelle and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. The new ensemble Ludwig, formed from members of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Philharmonic, will also perform. For instance in the world premiere of Together for two pianos and orchestra by Theo Loevendie, featuring pianists Arthur and Lucas Jussen. The Radio Philharmonic Orchestra and the Groot Omroepkoor present Requiem Songs by Wim Laman, a second commissioned work by The Friday of Vredenburg. These ensembles join forces with the National Children's Choir for the oratorio Joan of Arc au bûcher by Arthur Honegger, in advance a highlight of the new programming.


Special promotion

[/two_fifth] [three_fifth_last]I may offer readers of this blog a discount on the 'The Last Romantic' series on Richard Strauss: six concerts and one extra concert from €139 for €119. To qualify, please send an email with your address details to o.v.v. Action 'Richard Strauss Culture Press'. [/three_fifth_last]

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Thea Derks

Thea Derks studied English and Musicology. In 1996, she completed her studies in musicology cum laude at the University of Amsterdam. She specialises in contemporary music and in 2014 published the critically acclaimed biography 'Reinbert de Leeuw: man or melody'. Four years on, she completed 'An ox on the roof: modern music in vogevlucht', aimed especially at the interested layperson. You buy it here: In 2020, the 3rd edition of the Reinbertbio appeared,with 2 additional chapters describing the period 2014-2020. These also appeared separately as Final Chord.View Author posts

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