They are all between the ages of 18 and 28 and are the orchestral professionals of tomorrow: the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie, a group of ambitious musicians who together form an orchestra with the highest of artistic standards. Since it was founded in 1974, only the crème de la crème of young people from all over Germany have been permitted to join the ranks of the orchestra. Nothing has changed to this day, which is why the orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker have also had a long musical partnership: for a long time now, this youthful ensemble has appeared every year at the Philharmonie.
On this occasion, the conductor is David Afkham, the son of a family of musicians (his brother Micha has been a member of the viola section of the Berliner Philharmoniker since 2004), and is currently chief conductor of La Orquesta y Coro Nacionales de España. The evening begins with Olivier Messiaen’s Les Offrandes oubliées, an early, multi-coloured work which is divided into the sections “The Cross”, “The Sin”, and “The Eucharist”, and ends with the highest glorification: “The Cross and the Eucharist are the Divine Offerings [...]” (Messiaen). After Messiaen’s symphonic orchestral mediation, the programme continues with Henri Dutilleux’s cello concerto Tout un monde lointain – a work that had to be encored in its entirety at its premiere at the festival in Aix-en-Provence on 25 July 1970 with Mstislav Rostropovich as the soloist.
The soloist this evening is no less than Steven Isserlis, who can conjure up unimagined sounds on his 1726 “Marquis de Corberon” cello from the workshop of Antonio Stradivarius. The symphonic main item of the concert is Hector Berlioz’s spectral and demonic Symphonie fantastique. As a “Conte fantastique”, its subject matter is the imaginative world of an imaginary musician who has poisoned himself with opium “in a fit of despair” (Berlioz). It ends with a wild witches Sabbath which is even more turbulent than Carl Maria von Weber’s Wolf’s Glen from ten years before.