A first glimpse at this programme is sure to elicit a grin: the Overture to “The Flying Dutchman”, as sight-read by a second-rate spa ensemble at the fountain at 7 am”. And when you hear this musical party piece by Paul Hindemith, the joke seems boundless: with subtle irony, but also with a thoroughly earthy sense of humour, the composer takes on the cult-like adulation accorded the Bayreuth master. This amusing piece is by no means a parody of Wagner’s music, but rather – as the title suggests – it pokes fun at the arrangement craze of past times as well as at shoddy musicianship, a most rare commodity in the Philharmonie.
Musical surprises – masterminded by Sir Simon Rattle – and high spirits are thus guaranteed in the late hours. Hindemith’s works generally seem a good fit for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Late Nights: following up Kammermusik No. 1, performed on 15 December 2012, Kammermusik No. 3 is also on this programme. The soloist in what is essentially a little concerto for cello and chamber orchestra is the Philharmoniker’s principal cellist Martin Löhr.
The programme is rounded off by Witold Lutosławski’s Preludes and Fugue for 13 solo strings – a composition that proves two things: that modern music can be extremely exciting and that each and every member of the Berliner Philharmoniker has got what it takes for a solo career.