OPUS 112: From Richard Wagner to Whitney Houston
The OPUS 112 New Year’s concert in the Kuppelsaal auditorium at the Hannover Congress Centrum is one of Hannover’s winter music highlights. OPUS 112 is the symphonic wind orchestra from the Hannover Fire Brigade. For our stories of INTERSCHUTZ, we spoke with Hugo Loosveld, who has been conductor of the OPUS 112 orchestra for the last 17 years.17 Dec 2019
For people who have never experienced OPUS 112 before: What does "qualitatively high-caliber symphonic wind music" mean?
People often associate brass or wind music with marches, polkas or mood music, played on the street or in a party tent by fire brigade bands or marching bands. In general, the music is expected to be basically folkloristic. Music arranged for wind instruments and wind orchestras, however, can actually be much more versatile and demanding.
There are many different works in every genre, from classical to pop, which sound excellent when played by a wind orchestra. There are also many original compositions for large wind orchestras. In these larger ensembles, there are oboes, bassoons, bass clarinets and, in the percussion section, both rhythmic and melodic instruments. This instrumentation can definitely be termed "symphonic".
What style of music does OPUS 112 play?
OPUS 112 plays anything from classical to pop, from musicals to film music, original compositions for wind orchestra and, occasionally, also marches or folkloristic music. What is important for us is that the music sounds high-quality and is presented professionally. For years, OPUS 112 has been one of the best amateur wind orchestras in northern Germany and one of the most versatile calling cards of the state capital, Hannover.
Tell me a few of the musical pieces you play, just to give us a better idea of the range.
In the first half of our upcoming concert, we’ll be playing the “Entry of the Guests” from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser”, Ravel's “Bolero” and excerpts from Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”. After intermission, we’ll play hits from Queen and Whitney Houston, but also music from “My Fair Lady”. As you can see, OPUS 112 covers a wide range of repertoire.
Fire brigade orchestra – does that mean all your musicians are active firefighters?
OPUS 112 is the representative orchestra of the Hannover Fire Brigade and the musicians come from all parts of Hannover as well as the surrounding area, from as far away as Hamlin, Salzgitter and Stassfurt. It isn’t possible for these musicians to be active as firefighters. But we enjoy making music for the fire brigade.
Every orchestra surely has its own unique character. What is special about OPUS 112?
With over 80 active musicians, OPUS112 has a very well-balanced lineup, but the sound of the orchestra is nevertheless light and transparent. Our well-trained musicians know how to present the compositions with such passion, enthusiasm and skill that the audience gets swept along. That’s the way it should be; listening to us should be fun!
What is your own personal relationship to the fire brigade?
I played in a fire brigade orchestra for many years as a musician. Since 2002 I’ve built up OPUS 112, and conducting and managing the orchestra remains a lot of fun. The fire brigade plays an important role – not only does it finance us, but it also takes care of transporting the musicians and the instruments.
It is a very reliable partner for the orchestra. I’ve met a lot of good people in the fire brigade, and I admire them especially for their profession. I am particularly delighted they are big fans of the orchestra, its music and its musicians.
Over the course of your 17 years with OPUS 112, which concert was the most memorable one for you?
That’s a hard question to answer. Concerts yield so many different impressions and memories for a musician. But for me, the concert tours with OPUS 112 in China were the most impressive thing I ever experienced in over 30 years of doing music.
Those were concerts in big concert halls against a backdrop of several thousand enthusiastic listeners. Before and after the concert, to be received and dined like stars, giving autographs and feeling like you’ve just given people a memorable evening with our music. Such encounters make a person proud and happy.
OPUS 112 will be making several appearances at INTERSCHUTZ. What kind of things are you planning there?
The INTERSCHUTZ year 2020 will kick off with a musical highlight in the form of the New Year’s concert. The performances at INTERSCHUTZ will involve official occasions, with the music of OPUS 112 providing the musical background for those occasions. We will be playing at the official opening event on the exhibition grounds and at the reception of the Federal President on the occasion of German Fire Services Day at Hannover City Hall.
The challenge is that the compositions need to have a festive character, fit well into the overall nature of the event and at, the same time, provide a bit of welcome variety. I normally decide on the compositions at short notice, because by then I’ve been able to make contact with everyone involved and have a better idea of what’s best suited to the occasion.
What kind of impression do you want to make on concertgoers?
My goal is to always have everyone in the audience leave the auditorium with a melody on their lips and be sure they remember OPUS 112.
About Hugo Loosveld:
The orchestra conductor was born in the Netherlands, where he studied trombone, euphonium and wind orchestra conducting at the School of Music in Arnhem. Important early stations included the Royal Military Band, the Naval Band of the Royal Dutch Navy and the National Symphony Orchestra in Amsterdam.
In Germany, he worked as bass trombonist in the Heiligenstadt Orchestra and as solo trombonist in the Volkswagen Philharmonic Orchestra in Wolfsburg. Between 2001 and 2007, Loosveld was conductor of the Philharmonic Volkswagen Orchestra in Wolfsburg. For more than 22 years, Loosveld also conducted the Youth Wind Orchestra of the state capital of Hannover. His professional activities range from giving seminars and instrumental lessons to band coaching.
About OPUS 112:
OPUS 112 is the orchestra of the Hannover Fire Brigade. Its 80 musicians are a lively mixture of students, professionals and pensioners. Their repertoire is a mix of all genres. OPUS 112 regularly gives benefit concerts and is considered one of the main musical calling cards of the city of Hannover – according to the motto: Music at its finest! The orchestra has also toured several times abroad, most recently in China.
About the New Year’s concert:
Tickets for the New Year’s concert by OPUS 112 on Saturday, 11 January 2020, are available at a price of 18 euros at all popular advance booking offices as well as the box office. Advance ticket purchases can also be made online and via the ticket telephone hotline at +49 1805 - 700 733. Further information on OPUS 112 and the New Year’s concert is available here .
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