The Berliner Philharmoniker celebrate the founding of the orchestra on 1 May 1882 with their European Concerts which they give on that date at a venue in Europe of cultural and historical significance every year. And since the Berliner Philharmoniker themselves are based in a highly culturally significant venue, it seems obvious to make it a venue for the European Concert – especially since the Philharmonie celebrated its 50th birthday at the beginning of the 2013/2014 season. The concert is conducted by a man who has been associated with the Berliner Philharmoniker for over 50 years: Daniel Barenboim, who made his debut as the soloist in Béla Bartók’s First Piano Concerto under the direction of Pierre Boulez in June 1964. Six years later, he took to the conductor’s desk of the orchestra for the first time. He has since performed regularly with the Berliner Philharmoniker as a pianist and conductor.
The programme of this European Concert has an international flavour: Otto Nicolai’s Singspiel The Merry Wives of Windsor, which received its premiere in Berlin in 1849, is based on William Shakespeare’s comedy of the same name, and its lively overture has long since secured a place on the concert stage. Also inspired by a Shakespearean comedy hero is Edward Elgar’s symphonic study Falstaff. We then turn from comedy to the tragic twists of fate: The Fifth Symphony of Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky is characterised by a sombre main theme that for the Russian composer symbolises “a complete resignation before fate, which is the same as the inscrutable predestination of fate”.