By Steve “the Count”, Count Istvan, from Sydney, Australia.

Sent to the Australian fan website, run by Jann Treyvaud, in 2007.

The World Health Organization has issued a global warning (not warming) about a new form of manic behavior sweeping the world.   It is extremely contagious, highly addictive, and up till now no cure has been found, although it is suspected that no-one is really looking very hard. The WHO is undecided as to what to call this virulent disease;  Rieu-itis or Rieu-mania, for fear that the former will be confused with Rheumatism, and the latter with Romania. This affliction has a bewildering variety of symptoms, with varying degrees of severity. It affects men and women equally. The symptoms can strike at any time and usually without warning. One of the more insidious aspects of Rieu-mania is that the victim is often totally unaware that he or she has caught the disease. Knowledge that one is affected is usually accompanied by the instant realization that one is incurable and therefore doomed to a life of enjoying music in ways previously unexpected and unknown. As a service to the world population, here are some of the symptoms and manifestations of Rieu-itis to watch for. These can result from any kind of exposure to André Rieu, his music or his concerts, either by way of DVDs, CDs, television transmissions or attendance at any of his concerts. The latter is considered the most likely by far to lead to contagion. Repeated exposure is not necessary for this affliction to take hold, and no-one should consider themselves immune. Persons who previously had only a vague knowledge of Classical Music, or even none at all, suddenly find themselves whistling or humming tunes like The Blue Danube, the Radetzky March or The Second Waltz, often at most inappropriate moments. People who claimed to like only pop music find themselves being haunted by beautiful songs and melodies they had never heard, or even heard of, before, such as The Red Rose Café, The Marino Waltz or Song of Vilja.   The expression of this enhanced appreciation of music, whether humming, whistling or singing, is usually accompanied by a feeling of happiness and euphoria. In any crowded bus or train full of unhappy commuters, any person singing or humming quietly to themselves, especially if they are also smiling, are almost certainly suffering from Rieu-itis. There are many even more severe cases. Many people who had been previously familiar with certain classical pieces will never be able to listen to them the same way again. For example, those previously familiar with Toselli’s Serenade will forever after be listening for the accompanying sounds of a nightingale. Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, for guitar and orchestra, will never sound right again without carillons while the introductory phrases of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony will become merely an introduction to a Bossa Nova party. Non-classical, or light music lovers, are not immune. For example, older people who previously could not bear the Andrews Sisters will suddenly find themselves ravid fans of the André Sisters. Some of the more bizarre side-effects of Rieu-mania are related to specific concerts or locations, particularly his home town of Maastricht. People who have never been there, or had never even heard of it before, suddenly find themselves homesick for the place. Others, even those who have never been outside their home countries, develop an almost irresistible urge to go there, in the desperate hope that André might give a concert while they are there. All those are relatively harmless symptoms. The more serious symptoms of Rieu-itis often manifest themselves in ways that can cause extreme embarrassment to the sufferer, not to mention those around him or her. As a general rule, places with so-called “Muzak” should be avoided. If you hear the Blue Danube Waltz, wherever you happen to be, you are very likely to grab the person nearest to you and start dancing the waltz. This is very embarrassing if you do not know how to waltz, and extremely embarrassing if the person nearest to you is a total stranger. Take note that whereas it is perfectly acceptable at an Andre Rieu concert to grab total strangers and start dancing with them, it is considered totally unacceptable in other places such as supermarkets, bank lobbies and crowded elevators. An even more dangerous environment is the classical concert hall. You must always keep in mind that it is NOT an André Rieu concert;  therefore clapping along with the Radetzky March is frowned upon, and you will almost certainly be asked to leave. Also, if they happen to play The Blue Danube or any waltz, you will not be asked to dance in the aisles, and should you try you will be told to sit town… and stay down… or else.   Enthusiastic applause after a lively performance is appreciated;  cheering and bursting balloons is not. Take note too that if the conductor should at some point while he is conducting turn towards the audience, he is merely demonstrating an individual conducting style;  he is not asking you to la-la-la... along with the music. In spite of the ever-increasing numbers of Rieu-maniacs the disease is not considered harmful. However, should you feel that you need help you should be careful in your choice of psychologist. If you choose one who is also a Rieu-maniac he will probably just look at you strangely and say something like: “You wish to be cured?! But WHY?” Why indeed? If you think you can answer that, then perhaps you really are crazy. Play on, André!

Health Warning


Count Istvan, Steve Rusz.

Health warning