Semyon Bychkov conducts Ravel, Bartók and Brahms

19/06/2010

Berliner Philharmoniker
Semyon Bychkov

Tabea Zimmermann

  • Maurice Ravel
    Le Tombeau de Couperin (00:20:14)

  • Béla Bartók
    Concerto for viola and orchestra (00:30:06)

    Tabea Zimmermann Viola

  • Johannes Brahms
    Symphony No. 2 in D major (00:49:05)

  • free

    Tabea Zimmermann in conversation with Helge Grünewald (in German) (00:18:16)

The Berliner Philharmoniker’s final performance of the 2009/10 season at the Philharmonie. Together with conductor Semyon Bychkov and violist Tabea Zimmermann, the orchestra plays a programme ranging from Western to Eastern Europe with works by Ravel, Brahms and Bartók. 

All three of this evening’s works are conceptually most intriguing. Ravel’s Tombeau de Couperin, for example, is characterized by a playful use of Baroque dance music with an underlying mood which, at the same time, is melancholic. Brahms’s Second Symphony, on the other hand, enchants with its cheerful mood – yet, below its idyllic surface, a highly complex texture is revealed, which is why the composer himself described the work as a “lovely monster”. Finally, there is Béla Bartók’s Viola Concerto, where the virtuoso solo part brings to the centre of attention an instrument whose contribution to the whole is normally made from the body of the orchestra, a contribution which is not infrequently underestimated.

For this concert, Semyon Bychkov – Principal Conductor of the WDR Symphony Orchestra – takes over the conductor’s rostrum from Seiji Ozawa, who unfortunately is unwell. In the Bartók Concerto we will hear a violist who made her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1992 with the same work. A critic on Britain’s Guardian newspaper recently clearly described just how capable she is of removing any misgivings one might have regarding her instrument: “No viola jokes please, this is serious. Tabea Zimmermann is one of the great players of our time (on any instrument).”