Before sunset on a warm Saturday 17th April 2010, my Albanian economist friend and I walked over the big pedestrian bridge, along the Merwede Canal, towards the magnificent 16th century monument building that housed both the Dutch Royal Mint and the Money Museum in Utrecht. I had hoped to discuss the intricacies of cultural economics and other pleasantries on our way to the house concert. But the walk was usurped by an urgent text message from the videographer who had forgotten to bring the directions and address.
There was not a plane in the sky, for the Icelandic volcanic eruption had caused all airports to close. One of the early bookers of the evening’s concert had emailed of her decision to stay at the office to help find alternative transport for her stranded colleagues. The videographer, on the other hand, had chosen to travel by overnight coach from London and to arrive early enough to get settled to record our concert.
The concert was being held in the home of an architect/artist couple who are the 4th owners of this “herenhuis,” a fine building unblemished through its 80 year history and largely left in its original state. The sparsely furnished reception rooms, 3.5 metre high ceilings, and parquet wooden floors made it ideal for a house concert. The August Forster grand piano sat in the corner waiting for an evening like this.
The house was buzzing with early guests and eager hosts. Robert and his friend Gaston from Qatar had already set-up the cables and microphones. A project manager for the oil industry by day, Gaston’s true passion is state-of-the-art audio recording. It was an unexpected gift to have a house concert recorded with the latest equipment — an offer we could not refuse.
Throughout the house of Elsbeth, the artist hosting this concert, we could see her original murals on the large white walls. Robert and I walked upstairs to change and prepare for the concert which was to begin at 8:30 pm.
to be continued…..