A Symphony of Sounds: Carmina Burana in Muziekgebouw

8 December 2023

As the Muziekgebouw’s Grote Zaal dimmed, the stage was set for a night of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana. But beyond the spotlight, another symphony was in play - our backstage ballet of sound engineering.

The Prelude: Load-In

The day began with the meticulous dance of load-in. Amid the organized chaos, every cable, every mic, and every piece of equipment had its place. As the pianos were tuned and the percussion set, I felt the palpable anticipation of the performers. The challenge? Balancing the sound of a 40-strong teenage choir, a 40-strong adult choir, alongside two grand pianos and an array of percussion instruments. It was a task I relished, drawing upon my experience and intuition to ensure every note would reach the audience in perfect harmony.

The Performance: A Sonic Journey

As the lights dimmed, the first notes of ‘O Fortuna’ echoed through the hall, sending shivers down my spine. The power of Jeannette van Schaik’s soprano, the depth of Raoul Steffani’s baritone, and the clarity of Jan-Willem Schaafsma’s tenor - all were projected acoustically throughout our majestic Grote Zaal. And let’s not forget the pianos, under the masterful control of Scholtes & Janssens, weaving through Orff’s demanding score. It was exhilarating to be the unseen hand guiding this auditory experience.

The Encore: Load-Out

As the final applause reverberated, the unsung symphony of load-out commenced. With a nod and a glance, the crew and I dismantled the stage with the efficiency of a well-oiled machine. Each microphone, each cable, was a memory of the night’s performance, carefully packed away for the next show. Our ‘H’ and ‘K’ Steinways carefully tucked away in their respective places.

Reflections in the Quiet

Standing in the now-empty Grote Zaal, I reflected on the night. In the echoes of silence, I could still hear the remnants of Carmina Burana. It was a reminder of the ephemeral nature of live performances - intense, powerful, and fleeting. But for those of us behind the scenes, the satisfaction comes from knowing we played a crucial part in bringing these moments of intense joy to life.

tags: muziekgebouw concert amsterdam classical