André Rieu: Love in Maastricht – DVD Review
By David Schuster
The soft summer light of early evening falls across the thousands gathered in Vrijthof square. Suddenly, the quiet murmur of the crowd is broken by the sound of many instruments striking into ‘Seventy-Six Trombones’. Andre Rieu and his entire 60-piece Johann Strauss Orchestra parade through the audience to take their places on the Palladian themed stage which dominates one end of the plaza.
Walking at the front, the virtuoso violinist touches hands with many of the fans in a gesture that epitomises this shared experience of a concert that manages to be both vast and yet intimate at the same time. The gentlemen wear tuxedos, whilst the ladies wear full evening gowns in beautiful pastel colours, looking like party-goers from the golden age of waltz. This is the opening for Rieu’s latest DVD, Love in Maastricht.
“Best seat in the house”
This is the city of Rieu’s birth, and there’s a nice moment where he introduces his brother, reminiscing about how they both wanted to leave the choir and play football as boys. It’s fortunate indeed that they didn’t; his natural ease on stage, coupled with an ability to engage the audience has made him one of the world’s best loved classical musicians. Having performed there for a record 13 consecutive nights, to more than 150,000 people in 2018 alone, I’m guessing the Maastricht tourist board love him too!
An excellent selection of well-known pieces, both old and new, comprise the show, giving it an enjoyable and accessible ‘last night of the proms’ feeling; ‘Granada’, ‘Pie Jesu’, You Raise Me Up’ and ‘La Bamba’, to name but a few of the twenty-eight songs that make up the DVD. Both sound and visual quality are top notch, even given the difficulty of recording in the open air, and a full 28 cameras were used to give the viewer the best seat in the house.
As well as the talented Johan Strauss Orchestra there are also many guest appearances from exceptional international talents including the three Platin Tenors, who hail from places as diverse as Tasmania and Hungary, two Chinese sopranos and Spanish duo Los del Rio. The latter’s energetic performance of ‘La Bamba’ has the audience dancing.
This is classical music at its best; performed well, but always with a twinkle in the eye. There’s a fair sprinkling of gentle humour throughout the concert, as the sun sinks slowly behind the towers of the Saint Servatius basilica. At the start of the evening the charismatic musician makes some bold claims about the power music has to improve lives and to bring people together. This isn’t an idle boast; you can see the effect it has: Couples hug, people sing and dance, and individuals are visibly moved by the performances, both happy and poignant. The true beauty of this DVD is that we get to experience this too.
André Rieu’s Love in Maastricht DVD is released on 22nd March 2019.