He is no more: my musical grandfather Daniel Wayenberg. He was 66 years older than me and we performed together for six years, from 2012 – 2018. He stayed with us when we had gigs or had to rehearse. With great humor, he could make fun of my parents and he played computer games late into the night. He enjoyed good wine and whiskey, but in moderation: no more than one drink a night. He always treated me like a colleague while I was just coming into the piano world. One evening I was rehearsing Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto. After reading the paper, Daniel said: I’ll play the orchestral part, and to my surprise, he played the orchestral part by heart!
In the beginning, our performances alternated solo work with quatre mains (Brahms’ Hungarian Dances, Bizet’s Jeux d’enfants, Fauré ‘s Dolly suite, Debussy’s Petite suite). Later we started playing piano concertos on two grand pianos: the Second and Third by Rachmaninov and the two piano concertos by Chopin. We also put those on CD and I’m glad Daniel wanted to perform them on original Erard grand pianos. Just before that, he had recorded a CD of Liszt’s wildly difficult Études d’execution transcendentes, which received excellent reviews.
We have been on TV a few times, at the reopening of the Rijksmuseum and when Queen Maxima came to see an anniversary concert of ours for the Music in the Home Foundation. We toured Spain together four times and enjoyed the tapas and fine atmosphere at Momentos de musica on the Costa Blanca.
My brother, who does not like classical music, he fooled me with Star Wars music: the Walküre by Richard Wagner. Wagner’s operas were his favorite music; he had a phenomenal knowledge of operas in general. As soon as an aria was played on the radio, we got to hear the story line with all the main players.
At my undergraduate exam in 2018, he came a few days earlier to rehearse and we played Liszt’s second piano concerto. On June 10, he gave his last concert: we played piano concertos by Liszt and Chopin on two grand pianos in the Engelenbak, Zaltbommel. For his 90th birthday on October 11, 2019, he would perform Rachmaninov’s Third Piano Concerto with orchestra in Musis Sacrum, Arnhem. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the concerts in September 2018: he had been diagnosed with colon cancer and had been staying in nursing homes and hospitals ever since. When we visited him in hospital in Paris in August 2019, he had lost a lot of weight, as usual we enjoyed sushi and a glass of whiskey. After that, things went downhill quickly. He was very supportive of his faith and looked forward to meeting his mother again.