For twenty years the Berliner Philarmoniker has celebrated its 1882 founding with a concert at a major European venue, and the 2011 event takes place at the magnificent Teatro Real in Madrid.
The Waldbühne in Berlin, one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheatres on the European continent, is the home of the Berliner Philharmoniker’s summer concerts. With over 20.000 in attendance, they are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world. In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker surrounded themselves with plenty of celebrities, including not only conductor Sir Simon Rattle, but also many figures from film history: Indiana Jones, Robin Hood, Ben Hur and many more. They were all brought to life musically when the orchestra performed some of Hollywood’s most famous film music. With film music from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, E.T. composed by John Williams. Live from the Waldbühne Berlin, 2015.
Recordings of all the Beethoven symphonies with their chief conductor are always a milestone in the artistic work of the Berliner Philharmoniker. So it was with Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado, and expectations are correspondingly high for this cycle conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Where does the special status of these symphonies come from? Simon Rattle has an explanation: “One of the things Beethoven does is to give you a mirror into yourself – where you are now as a musician.” In fact, this music contains such a wealth of extreme emotions and brilliant compositional ideas that reveal the qualities of the orchestra and its conductor as if under a magnifying glass.
The Berliner Philharmoniker celebrate their founding day (May 1st, 1892) in a European city of cultural significance every year. In 2016, they travelled to Røros in Norway, to play in the town’s beautiful baroque church. Norwegian violinist Vilde Frang made her debut with the Berliner Philharmonker at this year’s concert, joining them for Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor.
Three of Szymanowski’s most important works show Rattle’s ability to energise music in which he believes. Sensuality and cogency blend in refined sound.
It is extremely hard for any new recording to compete with the stunning 1967 Berlin account that Argerich made with the Berliner Philharmoniker under Abbado… Lang Lang certainly equals the boldness, power and communicative quality of Argerich’s account. Under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle the Berliner Philharmoniker is highly persuasive and sympathetic. Not for the first time the woodwind excel - marvellous. - Michael Cookson; www.musicweb-international.com