Programme Guide

A career in the fast lane: Klaus Mäkelä is currently head of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra and the Orchestre de Paris. He is also chief conductor designate of the venerable Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam – a post he will not be able to take up until 2027, however, due to his packed schedule. Born in Finland in 1996, his conducting “with burning intensity” always inspires “astonishment” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), and delights audiences worldwide.

Mäkelä now makes his debut conducting the Berliner Philharmoniker, with Dmitri Shostakovich’s Sixth Symphony, an “impressive, gratifying and masterfully written composition” (Krzystof Meyer). Its finale takes on the character of spine-tingling circus music: a sarcastic satire on the Soviet cultural bureaucracy’s desire for “closeness to the people” and a whitewashing view of reality. The grotesque character of this overwrought major-key ending remained hidden from the powers-that-be – so the Sixth was awarded the Stalin Prize. Among other things, they missed a central quotation from Mahler’s Lied von der Erde in the dramaturgically empty opening movement: “A cool wind blows in the shadow of my spruce, I stand here and wait for my friend; I wait to bid him a final farewell.”

After the interval, Klaus Mäkelä presents Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique, which the composer himself described as a requiem. The work is inspired by the eternal themes of being human and of art: of life and death, love and abandonment, as well as rebellion, struggle, resignation and despair.

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