Sunday, 4 January 2015

Berlin at the Barbican, London

Berlin comes to the Barbican and Royal Festival Hall, London, this season  For my review of Simon Rattle Schumann LSO Barbican Das Paradies und die Peri see HERE. The Berliner Philharmoniker give concerts at the Barbican on 10th , 11th, 12th February , traversing the complete Sibelius symphonies, with Mahler Symphony no 2 as an encore at the RFH on 14th and 15th February. The series has been sold out for ages, but returns do pop up. Keep checking, as Sibelius has long been a speciality with both the orchestra (remember Karajan) and conductor. Rattle's approach is very different to Karajan's but still very idiomatic.

Two more Simon Rattle concerts at the Barbican, with the London Symphony Orchestra: Schumann Des Paradies und die Peri on 11th January, and for contrast Webern, Berg, Ligeti and Stravinsky The Rite of Spring on 15th January.  Barbara Hannigan is singing the excerpts from Wozzeck, which she's done with Rattle in Berlin.  The Schumann concert's significant too because it's one of Rattle's favourites. When I first heard it, in a new edition,  premiered by John Eliot Gardiner live as the Royal Festival Hall in 1999,  I didn't get it at all. Now, however, I think it's an underrated milestone in music theatre. If I have time, I'll write more before the concert. There have been  lots of recordings since JEG's landmark,  but Rattle is very good, and idiomatic. He last conducted it in London in 2007.You can also hear his Berlin performance with the Berliner Philharmoniker HERE, with a similar cast to what we'll hear next week. Highly recommnded. The Barbican concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio 3.

Also worth going to: Ian Bostrdge, Schubert Winterreise with Thomas Adès at the Barbican Hall on 12th January and the UK premiere of Wolfgang Rihm's Tutuguri on 31st January. Kent Nagano's conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra.  "Scatological and anti-religious words are used in a musical texture that ranges from hypnotic haze, to raw blasts of noise, to slow-motion Stravinsky. In the second half of the piece, ten percussionists pummel out an intense, shimmering and at times deafening rhythmic ritual."

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