Excitement prevails before the start of the Prinsjesdag concert in The Hague. It is the first public concert that the Residentie Orkest gives in its new home hall Amare, with the brand new chef Anja Bihlmaier.
A new era is crying out for new repertoire, so entirely in theme, after a somewhat uncomfortable Prinsjesdag-Wilhelmus (Stand? Sing along?), the world premiere of a piece by the young composer Thomas van Dun from The Hague. His six-minute piece with the English title Unrestrictions, repeats a driving rhythmic motif that slowly frees itself from that rigid pattern. A sound of the oppressive corona restrictions, and a sign of a better future. Although that future does not sound so unknown: it is clear that Van Dun knows his minimalist classics – think of John Adams, Steve Reich – like the back of his hand.
Bihlmaier guides her orchestra through it imperturbably, and is then joined by violinist Simone Lamsma and cellist Daniel Moser for the Brahms double concerto. Apart from their excellent playing, the musical communication of this duo is a real pleasure.
In the meantime, the pros and cons of the new hall are becoming audible. Because of the clarity of the sound you hear everything. Especially in the softer passages that works beautifully, but sometimes it is unrelenting. The strings sound a bit sharp and shrill in height, not round and full.
That goes better with Kodály’s dances. There the acoustics give the fantastic clarinet plenty of space, and Bihlmaier becomes more expressive, getting a more generous sound from the orchestra. This festive advance on November, the real opening of the hall, makes you want more.