Yesterday my husband and I had the enormous pleasure of attending the Aalborg Symphony Orchestra‘s opening concert at Musikkens Hus. It was sold out – all 1,298 seats (and then some – I’m pretty sure I saw a few added chairs at the end of a balcony row). The atmosphere was anticipatory and festive. Here we all were at the first official public concert in the new hall, a hall that has been planned for well over a decade (or two…or three).
It was almost enough to sit in the new seats and gaze around at the unique design and lighting created by the architects and acousticians. But then there was the music. Starting with Danish composer Niels Gade’s ‘Efterklange af Ossian’, the orchestra played with passion and energy. They stepped it up with Tchaikovsky’s Concert for Violin and Orchestra in D-major, which featured world-renowned Danish-Israeli soloist Nikolaj Znaider (we were close enough to see his fingers fly over his instrument and the beads of sweat collect on his brow), and finished with Elgar’s Enigma Variations. A standing ovation enticed conductor Rumon Gamba to request an encore of his players, which they gladly did – Elgar’s Enigma Variation IX (Adagio), also known as ‘Nimrod’. This piece has to be one of my favorites but I had never heard it played live. Starting softly, the piece builds to a swell and – at least for me – conjures significant emotion. I was nearly in tears, both times they played it.
According to horn player Lauren Robinson, Musikkens Hus is one of the best concert halls she has ever played in (and that includes Carnegie Hall) and ‘it is especially wonderful when it is full of audience.’ We are privileged to live in a city that paid for such attention to detail that its orchestra members can say that – and that supports an orchestra made up of such a talented group of musicians.
For those readers who read Danish, here‘s a Danish blogger’s review of the concert.