After the huge success of his Eighth Symphony, Mahler turned to a surprisingly subtle work: Das Lied von der Erde, which exudes humanity and intensity through its restrained expression. On more than one occasion, composers have attempted to increase the intimate characteristics of the Lied by arranging it for chamber orchestra. In this recording with the Berliner Philharmoniker Orchestra Academy, Sir Simon Rattle performs just such an arrangement, by Glen Cortese.
The Orchestra Academy is the Berliner Philharmoniker's breeding ground for talent. After finishing their studies, the young musicians spend two years being prepared for the job of orchestral musician by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Many graduates are later taken up in the orchestra. In this way, the academy, which was started by Herbert von Karajan forty years ago, makes a significant contribution to the musical continuity of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Among the special events in the calendar of the Academy are concerts like these, where chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle himself works with the young orchestral players.
The concert was part of a series of events with which the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrated the 85th birthday of Hans Werner Henze in July 2011. The composer was represented that evening by his Second Violin Concerto with the orchestra's concertmaster Guy Braunstein as soloist. The work is based on a poem by Hans Magnus Enzensberger which deals ironically with the figure of Baron Münchhausen - and at a deeper level, with the failure of world revolution. Accordingly, the concerto reflects this: a comically desperate confusion, in which expectations are constantly raised and dashed.