Programme Guide

We all know the moment described by ETA Hoffmann in The Nutcracker and the Mouse King which countless children wait for: “A bright light brushed against the wall [...]. At that moment, a silvery bell rang “ting-a-ling, ting-a-ling”, the doors opened, and such a light shone from the great room that the children exclaimed loudly “Oh! - Oh!” as they stood as if frozen on the threshold.” The Berliner Philharmoniker education programme’s traditional family concert for Advent with Sarah Willis sets the musical mood for the festive period. As always, the orchestra’s horn player introduces a particular group of instruments which then plays a selection of beautiful, funny, surprising and, of course, Christmassy music. With a soft, warm and round sound that is deeper than the trumpet but higher than the trombone and tuba, it is Sarah’s own instrument that takes centre stage this year. The horn was used by composers of various eras to represent hunting, as a sonic signifier for forests and nature, and as a musical cipher for Romantic remoteness and isolation. With its brass-coloured, iridescent body, it has also added tonal splendour to sacred music. In this spirit, prepare yourself for what in every respect is a dazzling concert – with Sarah Willis and colleagues, the horn players of the Berliner Philharmoniker, plus other Berlin musicians.

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