Choice favourites - Marcel's selection
‘My absolute essential is the recording of a concert on 24 January 2013 featuring Richard Strauss’s Tod und Verklärung conducted by Mariss Jansons.’
In his capacity as the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s media man, Marcel oversees its CD and DVD recordings and manages the video platform. He knows everything there is to know about all the videos online, of which there are over 100, and is a veritable expert on the underlying archives. So why has he chosen this particular recording?
‘It’s a recording of a concert from January 2013. I had only just joined the orchestra and had had a rather hard day,’ he explains. ‘Something had gone wrong at work. I’d tried my best, but there was a lot of fuss. And I was nervous. Then the concert started, and it was so unbelievably good. I was instantly swept up in it. All my frustration melted away, and I left the concert hall a different person. That’s the kind of effect a good concert with beautiful music can have.
‘My experience at the time is undoubtedly linked with that initial period with the orchestra. But even after all these years, this recording still surpasses all the many others I know of Tod und Verklärung.’
A near-death experience?
‘The recording is also special to me because of the additional content we created around Tod und Verklärung at the time,’ Marcel continues. ‘I remember the interviews with Michael Kennedy - Strauss's biographer, and our orchestra members Emily Beynon and Alexei Ogrintchouk in which they talk about the music, and a conversation with Pim van Lommel, a retired cardiologist, about near-death experiences. In the work, Strauss portrays the process whereby an artist dies. As a young man, Strauss was seriously ill, hovering between life and death. So it could well be that he is expressing a near-death experience in the music.’
‘And when I think of Mariss Jansons,’ Marcel says, ‘I think of how he performed miracles. Not for the purpose of creating an effect or because of some personal ideology, but always based in the spirit of the music. You can hear that the music in all its perfection comes first in each and every one of his recordings. That makes this recording an essential for me.’