23/01/2010

Berliner Philharmoniker
Bernard Haitink

Frank Peter Zimmermann

  • György Kurtág
    Stele (00:15:19)

  • Johannes Brahms
    Violin Concerto (00:43:55)

    Frank Peter Zimmermann Violin

  • Béla Bartók
    Concerto for Orchestra (00:43:44)

  • free

    Frank Peter Zimmermann in conversation with Christoph Streuli (00:18:31)

It is astonishing that Brahms’s Violin Concerto is considered one of the most popular, for the composer here forgoes all virtuosic display with which his contemporaries such as Paganini and Sarasate guaranteed the success of their works. In the Brahms concerto there is not even a play on the tension between soloist and orchestra; the effect is rather one of mutual support for each other. This powerful cooperation can be appreciated at this concert with Frank Peter Zimmermann and the Berliner Philharmoniker under the direction of Bernard Haitink.

Haitink also conducted at Zimmermann’s last guest appearance in 2008. Referring to the soloist’s instrument – a 1711 Stradivarius that once belonged to Fritz Kreisler – the Berliner Morgenpost reported at the time: “Thus it came to an admirable harmony of compositional, interpretative and material prerequisites, if it is at all possible to call the incomparably sweet, spreading tone of this violin ‘material’. ... In his cheerfully composed manner, he now stands unchallenged at the forefront of the world’s elite: ... A miracle violinist! The audience were aware of this and acclaimed him as such.”

The Hungarian flavour that permeates the last movement of the Brahms concerto is reflected in the two other works of the evening, but they are of genuine Magyar origin. The concert opens with György Kurtág’s Stéle for large orchestra, written in 1993 during Kurtág’s time as composer in residence with the Philharmoniker, and ends with Bartók’s sharply contoured Concerto for Orchestra.