In 2020, at the age of 100, the double bass player Erich Hartmann died, and with him the last musician of the Berliner Philharmoniker who had been a member of the orchestra under chief conductor Wilhelm Furtwängler. Hartmann could remember colleagues from his younger years who had played in the era of Furtwängler’s predecessor Arthur Nikisch. As in families, the dialogue between generations in orchestras forms the bond that connects the past and the present.
Hartmann, like former first concertmaster Thomas Brandis and principal cellist Götz Teutsch among others, is one of the former members of the Berliner Philharmoniker director Eric Schulz interviewed about their memories in his three-part film series The Philharmoniker – Our Story. Accompanied by sound and film recordings, they provide a fascinating insight into the inner processes of the orchestra, which has remained true to its sound idea and professional ethos despite all the changes that have taken place over time. The first episode of the chronologically arranged film series is dedicated to the work of the three chief conductors Nikisch, Furtwängler, and Herbert von Karajan.