Sir Simon Rattle Conductor
Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
Première of a work commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker together with the Lucerne Festival
Deutsche Bank, sponsor of the Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall, was kind in offering a free e ticket for the first concert of the season. The gist — live concerts from the regular subscription series from the orchestra’s home, the Philharmonie.
We just began with a very interesting interview with music director, Sir Simon Rattle, with lots of talk about the future of the scheme, the city, the orchestra, etc. Great interview, but I wanted to tap him on the shoulder and help him sort out the horrible placement of the speakers in his office!
Now, the concert. The oboe is giving the A. Back at the interval.
For some reason, the concert has begun with the Berlioz. I’ll report back if the inconstancies are there or in my time management! Also, there were some dropouts on my high bandwidth choice. Not sure if the problem is the BPO/DB servers are overloaded with all the free tickets (over 4000, I believe) or my end.
That said, the Berlioz is going magnificently. I’ve not heard the important oboe part better played in my 45 year acquaintance with this piece (my first live concert, and in long pants!). The six harps, too, certainly make a visual statement. Rattle is using the optional cornet parts to great effect.
The Berlioz is finished. What a fantastic performance. It had everything. Brilliant playing, expressive and flawless solos, but Rattle made the work seem different somehow, more complete. So many times, it becomes an orchestral showpiece. Rattle showed us just how heartbroken Berlioz must have been by Harriet Smithson, the English actress and the subject of the ‘beloved’ and ‘idee fixe’ so prevalent in the work. It was both fearsome and harrowing, triumphant and brilliant. I hope there is a CD/iTunes release. It’ll be downloaded immediately.
The bad news is that it seems that I did mess up with the timing so can only discuss the Berlioz (see Comments). My apologies. The good news is that I sat and cheered at the end of the Berlioz, so engrossing was the experience.
I’ll write in more detail as the season progresses.