Cologne New Philharmonic Orchestra

Volker Hartung, Artistic Director

Press Review Ne Year's Concert 2018

From: Markus Bienwald

Ubach-Palenberg, January 15, 2018

If music, as Mayor Wolfgang Jungnitsch put it in the words of Carl Ludwig Schleich, "is the description of the world without words and concepts", then the New Year's concert in Übach-Palenberg was a huge, all-encompassing description that was hard to beat.

In turn: Because what should develop in the course of the evening to a maximum sound enjoyment, began with simple facts.

Firstly, the Cologne New Philharmonic under the proven and incomparable direction of conductor Volker Hartung once again found a gap in the bulging calendar to deliver a real highlight at the beginning of the year. Secondly, the city continued its cooperation with the adult education center of the district of Heinsberg, which gladly stood by as partner of the concert series at the beginning of the year. And thirdly, the consistently well-tuned musicians offered an inspiring impression from the very beginning.

The opener was deliberately chosen dramatically: the overture to Verdi's opera "La Forza del Destino". "Normally we do not do that," Volker Hartung commented, but given a world that is currently moving in many wild waters, one could easily start with such a dynamic masterpiece. The story that the composer was driven to St. Petersburg in an open sleigh for the performance of his work in order to be subject to the 43 different stage designs and a plethora of effort, was adding a great story for the enthusiastic guests.

Sold out Auditorium

That the microphone for the announcements of the equally charming conductor, who delivered anecdotes from a musician's life in nearly four decades had little understanding and only stubbornly wanted to follow the spoken word, was a side note. With a dry, well-defined blow to the bottom of the unit, Hartung corrected the disruption, and his "Let's go" racked the guests with laughter.

But they did not only rejoice in such moments when they found themselves in a sold-out auditorium in record-breaking time. It was, above all, the mood of the event, which the conductor Hartung and the ladies and gentlemen with their noble instruments inspired so delightfully.

Finely articulated flute tones as in the famous beginning of the „Morning mood“ from „Peer Gynt“ by Edvard Grieg were just as much as the sweeping „Voices of Spring waltz" by Johann Strauss.

In the second part of the program the “Swan Lake Suite“ by Tchaikovsky played a role, the „Memories of Circus Renz" contributed to the composer Gustav Peter, and with the classic "On the beautiful blue Danube" the dance finished the concert.

Not only the nuances, but a dynamically finely graded sound, which seemed to emerge from nowhere and on a tip with the conductor's baton also disappeared there again, made the guests cheer with ecstasy. And in the end, it was the many smaller mosaic pieces of a program composed with knowledge, the instinct for fine concert experiences and the love of music, that made a special, sonorous trip possible. There was quite rightly excessive applause and the definite desire for a repeated experience in the coming New Year.