12/12/2009

Berliner Philharmoniker
Christian Thielemann

Rundfunkchor Berlin

  • Johannes Brahms
    Nänie (00:14:56)

    Robin Gritton Chorus Master, Rundfunkchor Berlin

  • Johannes Brahms
    Gesang der Parzen (00:11:21)

    Robin Gritton Chorus Master, Rundfunkchor Berlin

  • Johannes Brahms
    Schicksalslied (00:19:10)

    Robin Gritton Chorus Master, Rundfunkchor Berlin

  • Arnold Schoenberg
    Pelleas und Melisande (00:50:23)

  • free

    Christian Thielemann interviewed by Sarah Willis (00:16:55)

Brahms composed choral music throughout most of his life. It is not only this regularity but also the emotional depth and range of these works that allow us to sense how particularly important they were to the composer. Conductor and choirmaster John Eliot Gardiner once said: “They were the vessels for some of his most profound thoughts, revealing at times an almost desperate urge to communicate things of import. Solemnity, pathos, terror and jubilation are all experienced and encapsulated.” Christian Thielemann, one of the most notable interpreters of German late-Romantic music, conducts three of these works: Nänie, Gesang der Parzen and Schicksalslied, with the Rundfunkchor Berlin, partners of the Berliner Philharmoniker for many years, taking on the choral role.

The concert closes with Schoenberg’s tone poem Pelleas und Melisande – a work with which Thielemann caused a sensation with his recording of it ten years ago. “Ecstasy is surely the operative principle behind Thielemann’s reading,” according to one critic. “You really don’t need to know Maeterlinck’s tome to get caught up in the swirling emotions evoked here; the music does that all by itself. Thielemann achieves this by an unprecedented clarity of texture, exposing all the work’s myriad motifs and setting them in bold relief.”