For the first time, the new chief conductor Kirill Petrenko was at the helm for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s New Year’s Eve concert – which revealed a new, vibrant facet to Petrenko’s repertoire. While German and Russian composers have been the main focus of his previous Philharmoniker concerts, this evening’s programme takes us on a musical journey to the USA: with dances from Bernstein’s West Side Story and Gershwin’s An American in Paris. You can also hear star soprano Diana Damrau in captivating songs from musicals.
The music of the 20th century is often considered inaccessible. Kirill Petrenko shows how wrong this prejudice is with three works written between 1940 and 1950 which differently convey sensuousness and energy. We experience rhythmic power in Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements, the combination of innovation and Brazilian flair in Zimmermann’s Alagoana and finally, the voluptuous melancholy of Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.
Since 2009, cellist Rachel Helleur-Simcock has been a permanent member of the Berliner Philharmoniker, and was previously a member of their Karajan Academy. This portrait of the series The Berliner Philharmoniker and their instruments shows the musician in symphony concerts and at work with her string quartet. Helleur-Simcock also describes her 18th-century Italian instrument whose sound she associates with wood and honey.