Exclusive: Rotterdam made that amazing Beethoven 9th without rehearsal

Slipped Disc has been in touch with the team behind the Rotterdam Philharmonic’s sensational Beethoven 9th, played by musicians who are self-isolated in their homes.

The orchestra’s two Einsteins are called Stijn te Hennepe and Mike Schaperclaus.

We hit them with some of your questions.

SD Whose idea was it, and why Beethoven 9?
RP The Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra has a department called: CreAtions. We create and produce new formats for the orchestra to find and engage new audiences for our concerts. Together with our marketing department we came to this idea. Beethoven 9 is a piece that stands for unity and realizing we are all one in this time. That if we stand together we can overcome. I think it’s a message needed today more than ever before.

SD How did you decide the number of players?
RP We asked the musicians to join, the ones that were available at last-minute notice. More wanted to but we had a really tight schedule.

SD What technology did you use for recording?
RP: The video might look ‘easy’ but its not. We used really professional hard and software, since we also have to protect the level of recording that we put of there Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra. Besides that we believe that the quality is part of the impact a message like this has.

(We asked Mike for further specifications). Mike adds: In general, what we do is we pre-produce a click-track which the musicians play to. Keep in mind that you have to think about tuning and intonation. Then we put all those videos in sync and work on the sound with professional studio software and equipment. It is a pity to give away more because it might mean it take away a bit of the magic. But we want to give everybody the possiblity to enrich the world with great music.

SD How long did it take to edit?
RP: We just had a week to make it all work, from idea to production to result. But lets put it this way: we hardly slept that week.

SD How many rehearsals did you have?
RP The individual level of the musicians of the orchestra is very high, we had no rehearsals but our musicians always take responsibility and made sure they did what was needed to be able to contribute on this level.

SD Was there a patch-up session?
RP We worked very hard in both pret as well as post production to come to this result.

SD You are world stars now. What’s your next release?
RP Although we are very pleased with the ‘success’ of the video we are much more pleased with the endless feedback we received. People from all over the world that found some comfort in the music that we all love so much. These messages and reactions keep us going and make us feel thankful and realize everybody can contribute in these dark days when it is done from the heart! A creative mind never stops!! So yes, we might have some new exiting ideas that we would love to share with the world soon!

Watch the video again here.

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  • Er, the RPO were ‘world stars’ before this. Can we bin this obsession with immediate celebrity along with all the other nonsense we’re currently questioning due to CV? Now, that would be progress…

    • To judge from the comments by one the orchestra’s organisers, they already enjoy a very high regard from some of us who know, and are in the main content with appreciative comments on SD. Well done guys and gals!!

    • The Grammy means nothing now – it’s just a sales prize. It’s a doorstop for rich musicians.
      The Rotterdam Philharmonic musicians (and anyone directly involved with this project) should be presented with their country’s highest civilian award, whatever that might be.
      They deserve it!

  • I have 2 tickets for the March 14, 2020 performance of the Rotterdam Philharmonic at the Tilles Center on Long Island. Unfortunately, they had to cancel their US tour. This is a wonderful substitute while we are all isolating.

  • I am absolutely overwhelmed. I am sharing this with as many people as i can.
    Bless you all!

  • thank you to the RPO. I have heard the 9th played many times but I was surprised to find myself wanting to cry this time. in a good way. so thank you again

    • The same thing happened to me. I felt so at one with the whole world through this performance. It was extremely moving.

  • It’s a cold and bleak, dreary day where I live, but your performance lifted my heart and warmed my soul. I loved the format so that I could see the person and hear each instrument as they joined the others. Thank you for your grace! <3

  • You guys are all amazing and the end result is moving and inspiring! Can you detail a little more about the specific hard and software you used for both pre and post production? Do you mind sharing your secrets so other groups could try and create more beautiful works?

  • I’ve heard your piece many times since I found it, everytime I’m comforted and uplifted in these dark and depressing days. It’s cold and raining in New York. Thank you Rotterdam Philharmonic..

  • Beautiful and amazing…..such tremendous talent to create this….I will be sharing over and over. The world needs this now

  • Beethoven before breakfast! Well done everybody. You are great musicians with good psychology. It lifted my day as I watched and listened to you first thing in the morning, before breakfast
    . Jean R.

  • Thank you for a beautiful gift during a difficult time. I hope in my next life I can play cello in your orchestra.

  • I feel the Rotterdam Phil. is one of the best kept secrets in Europe. They have a very different sound and feel to that of the Concertgebouw. Granted, the difference in acoustics probably is the biggest factor there, but still . . .

  • That was amazingingly beautiful. It brought me to tears. Yes, we are all one.Thank you, each and everyone of you musicians and behind-the-scenes technicians who brought this together so flawlessly. It will keep my heart warm and my soul hopeful for days. Thank you, thank you for your encouraging, masterful, musical message of hope, solidarity, courage and resolution. I applaud you all and give my standing ovation in gratitude.

  • Greetings and many, many thanks from PA.USA to the RPS for the heart warming performance of Beethoven’s Nineth. You affirm for us all that music transcends borders, oceans and plagues. I am humbled. BJR

  • Thank you so much for lifting us up with your talent and passion. I cried throughout. I’ve sent the link to everyone I know.

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