Sitting in the train we realized that we had forgotten a pin for her hair. These little things are important during concerts: no hair before your face, no fiddling, the children must sit still and upright, and you are certainly not allowed to put your hair behind your ear once a minute, what she is used too. Happily a drugstore was open at a train station. I did not know for sure, but I was afraid my daughter would have worried about it all day. We bought a pin and were still on time! I was happy to be there on time. We went to the Concertgebouw on Wednesday for the piano rehearsal and we were late for that. There was a heavy storm. There even had been a weather alarm, I did not know that, but suspected it, because the streets were suspiciously empty. On top of the weather the train had a defect, and it was not just me and my daughter, but I had five babbling and giggling girls in my trail, with worried parents at home. But yesterday we were on time!
I heard the first part of the concert. In the morning I was lucky to be able to buy a pin, now I was lucky to get in. We had reserved a card, but it was not there….no red envelope with our name written on it. It was early, and she trusted me -it was a card for a reduced price, for parents of the children choir and family from the orchestra- so she tried to find me another seat. It took a long time to find it; it was sold out, but there was one left.
My place was behind and above the orchestra and the choir looking the director in the face. We have a Bach Passion tradition in Holland, many people go the Matthaus Passion. Concerts are all over the country. It is something else than just a concert, I knew that, but had never been there, and did know what it was like. Now I have experienced it. It is the Passion. I was sucked into the story. At first it were just bit and pieces, but when story enfolded it became different. I was gripped. The high notes of the hobo were penetrating, the evangelist (Mark Padmore) sang supple, had a friendly voice, it showed many emotions and took us with him in the story. The ‘Agony in the Garden’ in which Jesus (Kristinn Sigmundsson) wants the cup to pass him, but takes it, was moving and the betrayal by Judas very sad. At the beginning and at the end of the first part the children stood before the director (he was at their backs), right in front of the audience. The last choral, one of the two moments the children stand at the edge of the stage, is about sin and failure of men. It is a complicated choral, with many voices in which the children sing the melody. This little bunch of children standing there in their white blouses on the edge of the stage, singing with pure voices about the failures of mankind, that was quite something.
Just after that, when I fetched Lauren to go home at the artist entrance, the first thing she said was: “We had a milk shake this afternoon, and I can climb on the letter S from I AMSTERDAM!” These letters are big statutes on the square in front of the Concertgebouw. I loved that.