Sunday, January 29, 2017


As I had announced in November last year: Red Baron was in Hamburg on January 19, listening to Hob XXI, i.e., Joseph Haydn's Creation at the Elphilharmonie.

Elphi was officially inaugurated on January 11, in the presence of our Federal President Joachim Gauck, Chancellor Angela Merkel, and the head of the federal state of Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz. All are in a festive mood, no lamentation over costs anymore.

Gauck, Scholz and Merkel's Raute ©dpa

The night of Elphi's inauguration ©dpa
When our group approached Elphi eight days later, we saw the following:

Well, not quite. This is a photo of a model of Elphi taken the following day
 at the Miniatur Wunderland (A blog to follow)

The long ascent to the plaza on the 11th floor via escalator is impressive, but the moving stairs form a bottleneck when, at the end of a concert, more than 2000 people want to leave the place at the same time.

Night view from the plaza on the 11th floor looking downtown
showing the steeples of four of Hamburg's old churches

Looking downstream the Elbe river

Alter Kaiserschuppen in the 1920ies on top of which Elphi was built.
Note the Greenwich ball on top of the tower coming down once a day announcing noon exactly.
The dial below shows the tidal height in the Hamburg harbor.
Since the opening of the concert hall built on top of an old Schuppen (a storage building) for coffee and cocoa, there were lots of discussions about Elphi's acoustic. Initially, Master Yasuhisa Toyota thought that the sound quality would be the same at any seat. Apparently, this is not the case for those sitting in the back of orchestra and singers.

Before the start of the concert: introducing Haydn's Schöpfung
Red Baron sitting on the 13th floor on the side, had no problem with sound and had a good view too.

Only a live concert will give transparency of sound you will never achieve at home with the most perfect HiFi installation. Still, it is known that the sound of an orchestra in a too big concert hall may "fall apart" in particular when the room is empty. Therefore the too-small seats in Elphi were formed and stuffed in such a way that it makes little difference to the acoustics whether a place is occupied or not.

Before the pause following the first and second part of Haydn's Creation conductor Hengelbrock
 and the three solo singers Raphael, Uriel, and Gabriel, are bowing to the public sitting in the back.

At the end: final applause for Uriel and Adam
with Hengelbrock blowing kisses to Eve.

The NDR choir. Note the people sitting in the back of the orchestra, choir, and solo singers.
The concert was awe-inspiring. The NDR choir, solo singers, and the NDR Elbphilharmonieorchester were excellent. However, compared to Berlin's, London's, and Vienna's symphony orchestras, my feeling was that of a soccer match: a club of the second Bundesliga was playing in a stadium of the first. What a chance they have! Musical Director Thomas Hengelbrock and his musicians may only gain.

The following day Red Baron went to the Elphi plaza around lunchtime for a day view over Hamburg and the Elbe river.

Approaching Elphi from the side. It was a foggy day.

Looking downstream, the Elbe river. Compare with the night photo above.

View in the direction of the Neustadt.
The steeple of St. Michaelis, Hamburg's older and another landmark, is barely visible.

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