• Sunday, December 5, 2021

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  • Classical music on a budget

    For the classical music lover, Amsterdam is a paradise of opportunity, with some of the best artists in operatic, choral, orchestral and chamber music. The Dutch early music scene is famous, and the funding poured into contemporary music by a – till recently – generous arts sector has seen a blossoming of new Dutch talent. But as the government is tightening its belt, so is the concert-going public, and those of us who love music have to be clever. Not to fear: there are many amazing opportunities to hear high-class music-making on a budget, or even for free. And when we have saved amazing amounts on several concerts, maybe we can treat ourselves occasionally to a big one – the big budget concerts need our love and support just as much as the emerging artists.

    Amsterdam’s best kept musical secret is the performances of its conservatory students. In concerts which receive very little promotion except for within the Conservatorium van Amsterdam itself, the students and graduates perform all over the city in churches, chapels and some unexpected little musical hideaways. The same musicians who are performing for free, or for a nominal fee in tiny venues, are often at the same time releasing recordings, performing with professional orchestras and opera companies, touring other countries and winning international contests. In addition to this, cantata services, competitions and regular free events at the major concert halls mean the music-lover should never feel deprived of inspiration. Here are my top ten classical events for the rest of this month, all free or costing no more than five Euros.

    Seldom Sene
    12.30-13.00 Wednesday 11 December

    Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071LN Amsterdam

    Recorder quintet Seldom Sene present works from the Renaissance, including Talls ‘O sacrum convivium’ and Victoria ‘Ave regina coelorum’, alongside Josquin de Prez, Coprario, Holborne, Johnson and De Boismortier. Since their debut in 2009, Seldom Sene have won first prize in international competitions and perform all over Europe.

    www.concertgebouw.nl

    Boom! Ijburg
    12.00-16.30 Saturday 14 December
    Ijburg College, Pampuslaan 1, 1087HP Amsterdam

    An open event on the theme of a Sustainable Christmas. At 12.00, Amsterdam’s choirs come together to give performances, alongside organised children’s activities. The choirs involved include the Russian Chamber Choir, the Amsterdam Opera Choir, Con Amore, Lelikoor and Chamber Choir Scala among others.

    At 14.30 conductor Hans Veldhuizen will lead an open workshop Singing Together in Ijburg, which will be followed by a musical finale in the Theo van Gogh Park at 16.00. At 16,15, there will be a hearty winter soup for all participants. People who want to sing in the workshop can find the lyrics here: http://amsterdamiseenopera.nl/programma/#boom-op-ijburg

    Maya Fridman, cello and Florent Mourier, piano
    12.00-12.45 Sunday 15 December
    Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam, Oosterdokstraat 143, 1011DL Amsterdam

    You may have heard of young Russian cellist Maya Fridman as part of the independent pop duo with singer-songwriter Jyoti Verhoeff: they recently were finalists in the Grote Prijs van Nederland. Here she joins with prize-winning classical pianist Florent Mourier to perform works by Debussy, Rachmaninoff and De Falla. This free lunchtime concert is part of the series Uit in Noord-Holland.

    http://www.oba.nl/activiteit/lunchconcert

    CVA-Brass & CVA Percussion
    12.30-13.30 Tuesday 17 December
    Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ, Piet Heinkade 1, 1019BR Amsterdam

    A concert combining the official brass and percussion ensembles of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. This programme includes Holst’s ‘Songs Without Words’, Henze’s ‘Ragtimes’ and ‘Habañera’ and music by Marinissen, Sadler and Amadeo Roldan among others. The ensembles have performed at the Concertgebouw, Gaudeamus Music Week and the TROMP Percussion Festival: now they perform for you for free in Amsterdam’s top contemporary music venue.

    www.muziekgebouw.nl

    Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest
    12.30-13.00 Wednesday 18 December
    Concertgebouw, Concertgebouwplein 10, 1071LN Amsterdam

    Renowned harpsichordist and conductor Trevor Pinnock leads the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in a free lunchtime concert. The Concertgebouw have not released programme details so it’s a mystery, but with such well established international artists, you won’t want to miss it, whatever they play.

    www.concertgebouw.nl

    Exultate in Deo!
    20.15-21.15 Wednesday 18 December
    Bethaniënklooster, Barndesteeg 6b, 1012BV Amsterdam

    As part of the series Ongehoord! (Unheard of) The Bethaniënklooster presents new up-and-coming young artists. Period instrument ensemble Fons Harmonicus joins with three baroque specialist singers to present a joyful programme of 17th century Christmas music by Stradella, Weckmann, Bibler and Schmelzer.

    Tickets E5 or free for students. www.bethanienklooster.nl

    Retrograde This
    12.30-13.00 Thursday 19 December
    Plein van Siena, Rijnstraat 109

    In this free lunchtime concert, the ensemble Rapid Lemon, a group of mixed medieval and modern instruments fronted by soprano Sophie Fetocacis, play music from the 14th century alongside music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Rapid Lemon is an anagram of Palindrome, by the way.

    www.pleinvansiena.nl

    Jasmina Rakovic, piano
    14.30-15.30 Friday 20 December
    Oosterkerk, Kleine Wittenburgerstraat 1, 1018LS Amsterdam

    The Serbian pianist performs as part of the Young Talent series in the Oosterkerk. This free one-hour afternoon concert will focus on three giants of the classical pianist’s repertoire, Bach, Haydn and Chopin.

    www.oosterkerk-amsterdam.nl

    Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
    17.00-19.00 Saturday 21 December
    St. Nicolaasbasiliek, Prins Hendrikkade 73, 1012AD Amsterdam

    The Collegium van de Cappella Nicolai performs the traditional service, directed by Michael Hedley. The choir is a professional group of sixteen singers who regularly perform choral evensong as well as concerts.

    www.muziekindenicolaas.nl

    Christmas Carol Service
    10.30-12.00 Sunday 22 December
    Westerkerk, Prinsengracht 281, 1016GW Amsterdam

    One of the Westerkerk’s high-quality musical services, with the choir Capella Westerkerk, directed by Jos van der Kooy. Harmen Trimpo plays one of the church’s original 17th century organs.

    www.westerkerk.nl

    Comments

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