When I lived in New York I went through a long phase where I attended classical concerts at Carnegie Hall at least a couple times a month throughout the entire concert season. So I find it highly ironic that since moving to Germany, the birthplace of some of the greatest classical composers in history, I’ve only been to a handful of classical concerts at most. I was quite happy to remedy that situation during Musikfest Bremen — a three-week long music festival celebrating its 25th anniversary and featuring performers from around the world, big names as well as the rising stars of everything from jazz to classical, from world music to opera.
Just a few nights after the festival kicked off, I attended a fantastic concert by the famed pianist, Sir András Schiff at Bremen’s Art Deco concert hall Die Glocke. As we arrived, normally casual Bremer were dressed to the nines and streaming into the concert hall. The Großer Saal was completely packed. Of course photos weren’t allowed, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say that our seats in the 11th row offered the perfect view of Schiff’s hands as they graced the keys of a 1921 Bechstein concert grand. The concert focused on variations from Mozart, Haydn, Schumann, and Beethoven, with my personal favorite of the evening being “Variations sérieuses” by Mendelssohn Bartholdy.
It was so meditative to watch Schiff play and to listen to the sounds of the piano. I haven’t felt so relaxed in ages! Although I’m no classical expert, judging from the thunderous applause and stamping of feet afterwards, it seems my fellow concert goers enjoyed themselves as well! Schiff responded in turn by playing a brief encore — which I didn’t recognize, but would love to identify in case anyone happens to know what he played.
The whole evening was fantastic and inspired me to get back into my old New York habits once the concert season officially starts up again. But in the meantime, the Musikfest Bremen continues until September 19th, so there is still plenty more time to get a few more concerts in, classical or otherwise!