With this concert, the Berliner Philharmoniker and their chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle celebrated the first live broadcast from the Digital Concert Hall on 6 January 2009. Since then, audiences have been able to enjoy nearly all of the orchestra’s Berlin programmes live on the Internet. After the broadcast, the concerts are made available to the public permanently in the platform archive; older recordings with previous chief conductors Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado, numerous interviews and documentary films may also be accessed in the archive.
Both the occasion and the programme of the special concert reflect a beginning. Not until he reached the comparatively advanced age of 43 did Johannes Brahms present his First Symphony to the public in 1876. Like composers before and after him, the example of Beethoven in this genre seemed overwhelming to Brahms; more than fourteen years of hard work preceded the publication of the symphony.
The conductor and orchestra played a Slavonic Dance by Antonín Dvořák as impressive opening music; in addition, the English journalist Terry Martin conducted interviews with Sir Simon Rattle and the principal cellist of the Philharmoniker, Olaf Maninger, who is also a member of the Media Board and one of the initiators of the Digital Concert Hall. Jürgen Fitschen was also present as a representative of the Deutsche Bank, whose financial support made the Berliner Philharmoniker’s exciting journey to a new media future possible.