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Maastricht Salon Orchestra (2) L1 program: “Rendez-Vous”
On Sunday June 26th 2022, André Rieu, together with presenter Henk Hover, will reminisce about the early days of his career as an orchestra leader. They do this in the program “Rendez-Vous”, in which they listen together to the in 2015 re-established Maastricht Salon Orchestra.
André Rieu: “Silence is the most beautiful music” L1, June 26, 2022. André Rieu in conversation with L1 host Henk Hover. Photo credits: Ralph Souren (L1). Translation: Ineke/John. Technics Ruud. Rieu was a special guest at the performance which the Maastricht Salon Orchestra gave in the context of the “Lentekriebels"(Spring fever) concert "Rendez-Vous”, organized by the Fund for Social Institutions, in the Parkstad Limburg Theater in Heerlen. In between the pieces, he reminisces and tells anecdotes about his career that first took shape with the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. No bookings whatsoever. "Former fellow student Gemma Serpenti asked me in 1978 if I wanted to play in her chamber ensemble “I Glissandi”. Within a year, that orchestra became the Maastricht Salon Orchestra. A recruitment campaign with hundreds of flyers were sent around, did not yield a single booking," says Rieu. "I then bought a nice suit and went to all the retirement homes in the neighborhood for performances. At that time, the fee for a five-person orchestra was 250 guilders. When one of the homes booked us for a month-long performance every Saturday, we had to work on an expansion of our repertoire."
10,000 guilders. The Salon Orchestra then rehearsed for a year in order to expand the number of music pieces into an evening-filled program. In 1982 the Maastricht Salon Orchestra released its first album; “Rendez-Vous.” "The production of the record, recorded in Jan Theelen's studio, cost at that time, 10,000 guilders. We had a thousand copies pressed and with 400 sold, we would have covered our costs. In the end it did not stop at the first thousand records and the album has been re-pressed several times afterwards." Golden chairs. Rieu continues: "The golden chairs on which the orchestra members sat, were purchased by my wife Marjorie and I, at a department store in Aachen (Germany). With a piece of fabric from the market I put that nice new fabric on with a stapler." First album. The first album also indirectly led to Rieu's first hit single. "BRT-Limburg (Belgium) radio host Jos Ghijsen regularly played the LP "Rendez-Vous" in his office. He noticed that his canary always started whistling loudly with the piece "Serenade" by the composer Toselli. That gave Ghijsen the idea to mix a recording of a nightingale with the performance of the Salon Orchestra for his radio program “Te bed of niet te bed.”(A Flemish radio talk show program). There was so much reaction to that record that the record company Philips decided to release the version with the nightingale as a single. That single became a great success with 20,000 copies sold, also far beyond the Benelux (Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg)." Hieringebiete Concerts. (Herringeating concerts) After that, the Maastricht Salon Orchestra moves quickly. The Hieringebiete concerts (1989-1993) proved to be a great success and contributed to Rieu's ever-increasing popularity. He did not dare to venture into the repertoire of the Strauss family of composers with the Salon Orchestra. "The music of the Strauss family can only be performed well with an extensive orchestra." A good reason for founding the current Johann Strauss Orchestra in 1987. With that, the Maastricht Salon Orchestra disappears into the background. Abdomen. Both in the Maastricht Salon Orchestra and the Johann Strauss Orchestra, it is André who determines which repertoire will be performed on the music stands. "Choosing the repertoire is something I will not hand over. It is here (Rieu points towards his abdomen, red). It often happened that we rehearsed a piece that was never performed live, because it turned out not to work." Marjorie The image of a strong duality that the violinist forms with his wife, crops up more often in the conversation. "From the beginning, Marjorie is responsible for all my texts," says Rieu. Whether it concerns the texts on the covers of our first music releases or my presentations at the performances, his wife's share in this is large. "She still writes all my texts. Without her I would now be somewhere in the gutter with a bottle of whiskey," Rieu says with a broad smile.
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