What do you actually call the oboe’s big sister? And what happens when you blow into a double bass? These and many other questions were answered at the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Christmas family concert. The main attraction was Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker, presented in an abridged version by wind players of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Horn player Sarah Willis, who was the concert’s presenter, explained not only what happens in the ballet, but also demonstrated the special qualities of the various wind instruments in a symphony orchestra.
The idea that music is either difficult to understand or has no value at all, is something that many people think. At this Christmas concert by the Berliner Philharmoniker it was clear that it doesn’t have to be like that. The ten musicians presented a work which is at once comfortable and familiar – but they also made it clear just how intelligent and sophisticated Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker music really is. So that there was something for the eye as well as for the ear, eighty schoolchildren were also there, illustrating the famous Waltz of the snowflakes through dance. Even Santa Claus managed to make a brief appearance, making sure that there was no lack of Christmas spirit in the Berlin Philharmonie that afternoon. This could be seen not only in the eyes of the audience, both young and old, but also in the eyes of the musicians on the concert platform who clearly enjoyed this special performance.