Sergei Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 is a work of compelling, pure beauty, and for its tone, which both sings and speaks, Lisa Batiashvili is the ideal interpreter. Alan Gilbert, chief conductor designate of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, also presents Richard Strauss’ Symphonia domestica in which the composer portrays his family both humorously and musically. Gilbert also presents the European premiere of Metacosmos by the Icelandic composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir.
Claudio Abbado was an exception among the great conductors: amiable and free of affectation, but totally uncompromising in achieving his artistic goals. A highly educated thinker, yet his greatest performances were born entirely from the moment. On 20 January, the Berliner Philharmoniker commemorate the fifth anniversary of the death of their former chief conductor. In a Digital Concert Hall playlist, we have put together a selection of outstanding performances from their collaboration.
The lieder of Hugo Wolf are unique in their clear-cut directness. Their aim is not the artistic sublimation of emotions, but real, unfiltered expression. Christian Gerhaher, the “foremost lieder singer of our time” (The New York Times), performs selected settings by Wolf of Goethe and Mörike. Conductor Iván Fischer also presents Franz Schubert’s Great Symphony, with its shifts between the idyllic and the abyss.