A double reunion: for the first time since the end of his tenure as chief conductor of the orchestra, Sir Simon Rattle returns to the Berliner Philharmoniker. The programme features one of the most sensational productions of those years: Bach’s St. John Passion in the production of Peter Sellars, which uses intensive imagery to accentuate the meditative as well as the dramatic dimensions of the work. The singers include the Rundfunkchor Berlin and a top-class ensemble of soloists.
The mysterious, expressionistic miniatures of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot lunaire cycle are perfect for a Late Night concert. The wonderful violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, who enjoys the experimental, recites the poems that underlie the work. The concert also includes waltzes by Johann Strauss II in arrangements by Arnold Schoenberg and Anton Webern. In these arrangements, Patricia Kopatchinskaja returns to her usual role as a violinist.
“He has everything and more, there is tenderness and also the demonic element. I never heard anything like that,” was how Martha Argerich expressed her astonishment at Daniil Trifonov, the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Artist in Residence this season. He can now be heard in a solo recital in the Philharmonie. With works by Beethoven, Schumann and Prokofiev, he travels through the almost one and a half centuries when piano music flourished.
Although French music often comes across as rather fragile, there are also powerful counterexamples. Thus, César Franck’s D minor Symphony and Gabriel Fauré’s Pelléas et Mélisande radiate – besides French flair – a Beethovenian will to find the right form. Maurice Ravel, in contrast, strikes a crisp, jazzy tone in the Finale of his G major piano concerto, as one might more readily expect from Gershwin. Tugan Sokhiev conducts; at the piano is Jean-Yves Thibaudet.