Programme Guide

The choirmaster and conductor John Eliot Gardiner once said about Brahms’s choral music: “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.” Here, Christian Thielemann, one of the most notable interpreters of German late-Romantic music, conducted 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.

He then conducted Arnold Schoenberg’s tone poem Pelleas und Melisande: a work that retells Maurice Maeterlinck’s eponymous drama of jealousy with late Romantic fervour and sonority audibly inspired by Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. The response from the audience and the press to Thielemann’s performance was rapturous. Das Neue Deutschland wrote: “His striving for clear structures and a vibrant sound development was downright triumphant. Intensive, even passionate expressiveness right to the dark ending. The orchestra was magnificent, inspired to even higher musical heights and charisma by Christian Thielemann.”

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