Meet Kirill Petrenko!

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    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Symphony No. 7 in A major, op. 92 (44 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
    Symphony No. 6 in B minor, op. 74 “Pathétique” (52 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Alexander Scriabin
    Le Poème de l’extase, op. 54 (25 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

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    Edward Elgar
    Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, op. 63 (54 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

As Kirill Petrenko’s career has gone from strength to strength, his election as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in the summer of 2015 was seen as a surprise only insofar as he had until then conducted no more than three concert programmes with the orchestra. But these encounters in 2006, 2009 and 2012 had left an extremely deep impression on the Philharmoniker.

Petrenko’s sure instinct for exciting programming was not only evident in the juxtaposition of established masterpieces with little-known pieces: he also delighted musicians and audiences alike with his rare combination of meticulous detailed work in rehearsals and an appealing temperament in performances. Petrenko himself has also been noted as saying that with regard to his future collaboration with the Philharmoniker, precision and emotionality, “hard work” and “artistic happiness” will go hand in hand: “Above all, I hope that playing music together will provide many moments of artistic happiness which reward our hard work and give meaning to our artistic life,” said Petrenko after being elected chief conductor of the Philharmoniker.

In the period between his election and taking up office at the beginning of the 2019/2020 season, Petrenko has steadily increased the frequency of his visits to Berlin. He conducted programmes in 2017 and 2018 as well as the opening concert of the 2018/2019 season and then went on tour with the orchestra to Salzburg, Lucerne and London; he also appeared at the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. The repertoire in these performances has ranged from the First Viennese School (Mozart, Beethoven) to contemporary music (John Adams). The present selection showcases highlights from this first phase of Petrenko’s work with the Berliner Philharmoniker, which lasted from 2006 to 2019, and as such, to a certain extent, presents the chief conductor “ante portas”.

Petrenko's feel for rarities is represented here by Edward Elgar’s Second Symphony, which the orchestra had not played for decades. Profound music which has an unusually grand scale of expression, as the conductor said in an interview in the Digital Concert Hall. Alexander Scriabin’s Poème de l’extase, which in the present performance culminates in a tremendous unleashing of sound, is also all too rarely encountered in (German) concert halls today. The core repertoire, on the other hand, includes Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, one of the Philharmoniker’s “signature pieces” that Petrenko developed entirely from its rhythmic energy in the 2018/2019 season opening concert. Another highlight – from Petrenko’s first concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker following his election – was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, known as the Pathétique: a confessional work, whose acclaimed interpretation by the orchestra and its future chief conductor is characterised by formal precision and emotional power.

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