Béla Bartók’s virtuoso Viola Concerto makes a strong case for an often underrated instrument – especially when it is performed by the internationally acclaimed violist Tabea Zimmermann. “She plays the concerto with a tender cantabile as if it were by Mozart,” as one critic wrote. Conductor Semyon Bychkov also presents Ravel’s delicate Tombeau de Couperin and Brahms’ sunlit Second Symphony.
“When I think of Brahms, I think of natural landscapes, mountains and beautiful panoramas, of this incredible grandeur,” says Yefim Bronfman, who has been one of the piano world’s elite for many years. He performs the composer’s monumental First Piano Concerto. Brahms actually wanted to write his First Symphony instead of the concerto. But it took another two decades before he actually succeeded. It is conducted here by the Philharmoniker’s honorary conductor Daniel Barenboim.
Solène Kermarrec actually wanted to learn the double bass. But at the music school in her home town of Brest, the five-year-old was advised to start with the smaller cello – changing was then never an option for her. After studying in Paris, Budapest and Berlin, the cellist found her first position in an orchestra with the Berliner Philharmoniker at the age of 23 – and at the same time a home, as she says. In this film portrait, Solène Kermarrec also reveals why she prefers to play in a group rather than alone, how different cellists’s ideas of sound can be, and what her second great passion is besides music.
It was somewhat of a sensation when in 2010 it was announced that the then just 35-year-old Yannick Nézet-Séguin was to be the next music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Shortly afterwards, he made his debut with the Berliner Phillharmoniker. Together with Yefim Bronfman, he performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 2. The concert also included Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique with its wide-ranging scenarios, from airy waltzes to garish grotesquerie.