Living with…André Rieu…for a week

andre rieu

The Man from Masstricht

The vital statistics for the classical violinist André Rieu and his orchestra are very very impressive.

In the last six years he has been in the top twenty touring acts in the world (that’s not just classical, that’s all musical acts!)

Over that period he and his orchestrs have topped $375 million in revenue, going head to head with artists like Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez and winning

He has sold over 30 million records and they will regularly grace the main crossover charts in respectable positions.  He has issued more albums over the years then no81bob has time to track!

At 64 he is stil actively touring, clocking up regularly in the region of 100 shows each year.  This week has seen him in Dusseldorf, next week Dresden, Liepzig, Munich and Stuttgart.  By the summer he’ll have extended out to most of Europe from Finland to Lithuania having popped across to Singapore and Brazil along the way.

He has built the biggest stage ever for a musical show and then toured with it.  The stage took five days to construct representing a Viennese castle and contained not one but three different ballrooms and an ice rink for waltzing to proceed while his orchestra played.  And trust me, you didn’t walk on to the stage, you were brought on by a horse drawn carriage.

And impressively, he lives in a castle!  Yup, he lives in a castle in Maastricht (obviously when he’s not touring the world) – and one where the real D’Artagnan  actually spent some time (allegedly).

But most impressive, is of course, his hair – of which more later…

And as for his music?

I stumbled upon André Rieu seriously this Christmas in one of those moments when I needed a little rest during the day!  You know the times.  And courtesy of a certain Arts channel – there was a live Rieu concert.  I obviously knew of him, but hadn’t grasped his flair for spectacle and mass appeal.  His music is always  lavish and jaunty – he is known as the King of Waltz bringing back glamour to the classical world.  Everything is lavish from the sound to the dress code of the orchestra – ladies definitely in bright crinolene, gentlemen in their best.  Always plenty of flowers everywhere complemented by balloons and lots of sparkly bits.  And fireworks or floaty angels should that not be sufficient.

So everything is a show, and credit where credit’s due, that is what we want sometimes.  Escape to a fairyland world where everything is beautiful, everyone is smiling and there are no worries.  And in music and spectacle that’s what the man from Masstricht delivers.

I chose his Forever Vienna album for the week, supposedly capturing what he’s famous for, and I would recommend it as a headphone accompaniment on a crisp winter morning’s walk.  I am however waiting for that crisp winter morning to accompany the music.

My one complaint is not musical, but it is that certain feeling of smugness that seems to emanate from Mr Rieu when you see him on stage.  He is obviously very proud of himself – he’s musically talented, he’s surrounded himself with talented people, he’s appreciated by his audience, he does have incredible hair – and yet I found it cloyed – but that’s probably jealous me who’s not so talented, clearly not as wealthy and hasn’t grown my hair out in to a fine mane.  Maybe that’s what I should do.

Grow my hair.

andre rieu and friends

And then walk about singing songs with lots of beautiful people

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There’s no shortage of video clips of André and friends, so I’ve selected two.  The first is a bit of a promotional to be honest but it does show off THAT stage – the castle one with a suitably understated entrance by horse-drawn carriage.  The second is just a beautiful performance of Ballad for Adeline.

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