Gewandhaus Augustusplatz, Leipzig, Germany
10th to 11th November 2012
Gothic meets Klassik Day 2: Staubkind, Blutengel, VNV Nation
Thus the second day of this small but very special festival dawned. The day before had not disappeared from the memory and still cared for small shivers and the anticipation of the coming event increased only unbearable. So the fans gathered in front of the Gewandhaus with great anticipation and they could almost feel this unbearable tension. I should mention that most of the fans were dressed appropriately for this occasion and they contributed therefore to a wonderful atmosphere of this unique evening.
The doors opened at 18’o clock and we could enter after a very short time for waiting the impressive foyer. I should also mention the ushers and remaining staff from the Gewandhaus. They ensured a smooth flow for this evening with their friendly, competent and confident manner, the staff contributed significantly to the fact that the fans could enjoy this event to the fullest. At halt past six the doors to the hall opened which was not the most architecturally beautiful but it’s considerably much better for the acoustics. The courteous ushers always helped with a smile to get your way through the maze of rows and chairs. Just after waiting the remaining minutes the orchestra entered the stage and provided a furious start with their opening under the guidance from the director.
As it should naturally belong to introduce the director and the orchestra I haven’t enough space to present each individual and gifted members of the orchestra which was presented here so I could only note the conductor. Anyone who wishes to get more information on the orchestra could take a look around the internet for the “Gewandhaus Leipzig”. The director and also composer Czeslaw Grabowski was appointed on 1st October 1986 to General- and Artistic-Director of the Philharmonic. His period of his work was characterized by fundamental artistic development with a stylistically safe performance which contains a large repertoire to form a large openness which connects with the audience. His work on this evening to face this project should toll a great respect. http://www.gothic-meets-klassik.de
Louis Manke entered the stage with STAUBIKIND as soon as the first notes from the opening fade away into the far reaches of the hall. The audience was tuned in for the ensuing event with his words “…..Welcome to Gothic meets Klassik 2012 in this beautiful rooms in this beautiful hall from the Gewandhaus. We are pleased that STAUBKIND could participate this evening with a small selection of songs…”. The orchestra formed a living emotion under the baton from Czeslaw Grabowski. The director fired his orchestra to display a beautiful-sensitive and richly coloured sound environment which was always accompanied dialogically with the catchy voice from Louis Manke. The song ‘Dein Engel schweigt’ opens the heart with sombre colours formed from the brass combined with the delicate shades from the strings. A vibrant orchestra easily disclose some dark and melancholic passages with accurately and transparently, and build a brilliant implementation for STAUBKIND.
After the last notes from this song were played, applause surged for Louis Manke and his men as well as Czeslaw Grabowski with his orchestra within a second. Visibly touched by the atmosphere and the enthusiastic crowd the sympathetic singer from STAUBKIND intoned his next songs. Some less piano tones opened the next trip to another dream world with almost incredible lightness. So the song ‘Kannst Du mich seh´n’ was beautifully intoned. Romantic-style strings supported by short recurrent revolt from the brass gained again a new way for a classical genius. This song was a poetic passion thanks to the simple but very poignant melody which was rewarded with almost standing ovation. Even the no less wonderful implementation of the song ‘Wenn du schläfst’ fascinate from the first moment. Thanks to the cast of strings and the selective shaped dark-tragically beautiful music from the cello the audience would sacrifice their souls to that full inspirational sound.
Louis Manke and STAUBKIND leave the stage with his words “We hope we have provided you a small and pleasant attunement for this evening”. So thunderous applause and cheers surged against them, and all members from the band looked again around the hall visibly moved and you could also see this high feeling which hat not only fallen to the audience.
01. Zu weit
02. Dein Engel schweigt
03. Wenn Du schläfst
04. Kannst Du mich seh’n
05. So nah bei mir
BLUTENGEL entered the stage after a short construction phase within only the microphone and music stand were exchanged. Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann obviously tinged with nervousness feeling the full load of this evening. The orchestra started with a cautious string with a slight approaching from the big percussion after a short introduction from Chris Pohl. The orchestra led by Czeslaw Grabowski awakened the song ‘Soultaker’ to renewed life with pure bright tone, a flawless technique and sovereign musicality in combination with the vocals from Chris Pohl. The director knows how to use the tone colours of the orchestra with a effective, contrasts and almost virtuosity way. A gateway to a new world was disclosed with this wonderfully successful continuation.
The expressivity of violin playing and the nobility of the cellos meet in unison with the clear vocals of Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann. The following song, ‘Über den Horizont’, represents in an unfamiliar looseness a new sound island full of devotion and thus gives everyday a magical aura. During ‘Ein Augenblick’ and ‘Behind the mirror’, Chris Pohl and Czeslaw Grabowski told an spectacularly innovative new story while ‘Die with you’ and the wonderful ‘Seelenschmerz’ show a hypersensitive and melancholy splendour which seeks an equal on this evening so far. Even the last intoned song ‘Reich mir die Hand’ reveals a clear plethora of pain which was presented with precise sound and clear voice. Undoubtedly BLUTENGEL and the orchestra with the director Czeslaw Grabowski receive final standing ovations for this romantic and stunning final.
The audience could clearly note how Chris Pohl and Ulrike Goldmann were moved by the enthusiasm and the intoxicating moment which in spite of the long stage experience drew the audience nearer to them.
03. Über den Horizont
04. Ein Augenblick
05. Behind the mirror
06. Die with you
08. Reich mir die Hand
VNV Nation (Ronan Harris without band)
After BLUTENGEL had left the stage with thunderous applause, the musicians from the philharmonic followed for a short pause. This break was used by the technicians to make some reconstruction measures and prepare the stage for the final performance of Ronan Harris (VNV NATION) for this evening. The previous evening and the present performances were driven from one highlight to another. There was no song with major weaknesses or errors. And I should admit that the absolute connoisseur from the classical scene could perhaps expose something for the normal visitor this was a magical moment without end. But nobody was prepared for this great speechless making presentation which should happen on this stage now. Visibly nervous sympathetic Ronan Harris entered the stage, looking around the hall with a expression of a small child that sees Santa Clause at Christmas. Ronan painted with clean illuminating shades and a immaculate technique a picture so diverse that you did not know what shade you should first grasp. Supported from the highly expressive orchestra and the famous lead from Czeslaw Grabowski the head of VNV NATION intoned their first song ‘Nova’.
A thunderous applause branded after the song which Ronan Harris brought to silence again with a shy gesture. Probably because he don’t wanted to be disturbed in his concentration. Even the wonderful and breathtaking ‘Legion’ as well as ‘Solitary’ filled the hall to the last corner with their expressive brilliance. And again Ronan brought the upcoming applause to heel with a small wink from his hands. He prepared the audience for another highlight on this evening with his words “This was not all, there would be more”. Ronan initially intoned ‘Further’ with an shattering sound drama and brilliantly directed orchestral colours. So he succeeded in conjunction with Czeslaw Grabowski to emotional boil the whole hall. Even after ‘Standing’ and ‘Illusion’, Ronan had to hold back the almost raging crowds. Clearly separated parts, precise pure tone paired with energetic strings and a continuous glowing full line are trademark of presented passages. But nothing from the already presented songs this evening was as breathtaking as the following ‘Beloved’. The first few seconds produce goose bumps all over the body. Restrained-factual accuracy and beautiful cool colours created a throbbing heart and wonderful soul which opened for everybody in the room. This soulful intoned song developed a spirituality of life fully taken with a dark beauty which always dwelt in this song. The clear voice from Ronan Harris combined with a masterful orchestra confer a gift of a magical aura to the commonplace.
So there is a understanding reason why so many people had tears of happiness and joy in their eyes. Ronan Harris was almost surged from the stage by the ensuing enthusiastically storm. The crowd didn’t want to calm down and so the sympathetic singer from VNV NATION had no chance and just enjoyed this moment to the fullest. But he had to soothe the people in the hall again with his word “Please do not sing along with the next song” he concluded this evening with the popular ‘Perpetual’. The unexpected looseness of the strings and single sounds of the harp with the catchy voice formed a convincing tonal unity. Whoever already thought the applause after ‘Beloved’ longed for several days proved wrong by the following hurricane which surged trough the concert-hall. With the simple words “standing ovation” I could not describe the exhilaration and the emotion that formally spilled over. The room was boiling and the people were raging on the ranks so the orchestra with its director and Ronan Harris were clearly overwhelmed.
Because of the extraordinary cheers Ronan could not utter a word for the first few minutes. He could say a few words after he sing an encore, which was also brilliantly and beautifully performed. But the emotions were so heavy accumulated that he failed to get the right German words and he had to give his speech of thanks in English.
What should I write now, as a rule our reviews are constructed so that each band had a brief description and a short evaluation of the show or the lighting , music and performance. But this is not possible for this unique evening. What should I distribute else than a 10? A review with 10 points never reflects this wonderful, emotional moments we could experience this evening with this bands STAUBKIND, BLUTENGEL and especially VNV NATION. Even my previous description is not sufficient enough from quantity and quality of words to reach this experience. The newness of the otherwise traditionally presented orchestral music revealed a merger of dark and melancholic pieces from Gothic music with a full-bodied, fiery and powerful orchestra for the first time. No words in any language could capture the emotions, feelings and needs which were liberated this night. Nothing could really explain what kind of world full of depth and rich with colour opened to the audience. Nothing could describe why many viewers had tears in their eyes and goose bumps had to come all over the body within the first strains of ‘Beloved’.
No matter how long I constructed my words and sentence it couldn’t indicate the joy and rapture learned by ‘Dein Engel schweigt’ from STAUBKIND. Nothing can capture the dark desire which spread with ‘Die with you’ from BLUTENGEL The way in search for a new kind of music which was intelligent, complex but yet accessible was a risky experiment which was managed in a brilliant and bombastic manner. It was clearly visible that the artist were all slightly nervous but this could be understood in a such momentous evening. They looked around again and again in a shy, confused and uncertain manner, sought the views and the approval of the audience nut such a reaction on this night is more than understandable and comprehensible. Such an event or I just rather say such a wonderful experience seeks its equal. Both of the festival days were sold out what we could not blame after such a grand launch of this wonderful event. There will be a new concert in the year 2013 cause of this sensational success. I can absolutely recommend that anyone secure a ticket for 26th and 27th October.
All pictures by Thomas Winter