Simon Rattle at the Berlin Philharmonic
It’s Simon Rattle’s last year as the head of the Berlin Philharmonic, which means that it’s the last chance to see his energetic conducting style at work in the orchestra’s acoustically superb concert hall—if you can get tickets, that is. Rattle has conducted the orchestra since 2002, and has been widely praised for both his talent and his efforts to bring classical music to broader audiences. In Berlin, he is seen as something between an artistic giant and a local celebrity: It’s not uncommon to hear stories of chance encounters with “Sir Simon.”
The season opened with a performance of Haydn’s “Creation,” a large choral work with cosmic ambitions. Mark Padmore (an artist in residence this year), Florian Boesch, and Elsa Dreisig sang the story of Genesis along with the imposing Rundfunk chorus. Their singing was often overshadowed, however, by the sound of the orchestra itself. Somehow, each individual instrument was recognizable, and yet one also heard the stunning whole. As the music filled the bright, warm concert hall, it was reassuring to remember that in many traditions, God’s first words were “let there be light.”
For more information and for a full schedule of performances, visit berliner-philharmonker.de.