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Simon Rattle and Berlin

June 25, 2018

Simon Rattle & Daniel Barenboim via flickr

 I come from classical music and always come back to her. In between, there is sound! (my musical motto)
I was a lucky guy in Berlin. Till yesterday we had two famous and encouraged conductors in this city. Daniel Barenboim and Sir Simon Rattle.

Yesterday Simon Rattle gave his farewell-performance from the Berliner Philharmoniker (2002 – 2018) in the Waldbühne at Charlottenburg. Together with his wife the soprano singer Magdalena Kožená from Prague. He gave his last concert as the head of this famous orchestra in the capital of germany. It was a very special evening,outdoor into the rainy berlin night. He started with George Gershwins “Cuban-Ouverture”, his wife sang beautiful songs of nature-experiences and love. (Setlist)
References and covers
The “Säbeltanz” from the armenian composer Aram Chatschaturjan has a special link to cinematic-  and ballet-music too. In Billie Wilders movie “1,2,3” from 1961 this musicpiece was also given – there you can follow a not only music-cover from ballet to cinema. It was also an adaption as a frame in storytelling regarding the problems of communist inflicted persons with theire suroundings: In Chatschaturjan Ballet “Gayaneh” (1942),  a communist woman with an alcoholic husband is dealing with daily challenges in a wild russian era. In  Billie Wilders film we have a young communist guy who has to deal with love, a Coca-Cola Boss and the separation of Berlin into east- and west-part of the town in cold-war circumstances.
Music with the masses
In 2003 Rattle gave the Stravinsky Ballet “Le Sacre du printemps” with 250 students of 25 nations from Berlin Schools from primary- to high-school grade. The combination of professional dancers with armateure pupils/students implemented the Philharmoniker and serious music into the young hearts of Berlin and so classical music is a matter of all berlin citizens. A great step to hold this music alive in the next generations.
Pre-production, rehearsals, genre rehearsal and performance at the ARENA will be featured in the documentary “Rhythm Is It!” from 2004, they are demonstrated in a comprehensible way. The dialogue of Gene Kelly with the french kids in the song “I got rhythm” is 67 years old. In Rattle’s staging in 2003, the young people are no longer just listeners but actively participate in the staging – after hard dancing rehearsals. So the movietitle is not an accident or coincidence. It follows an artistic thread that aptly describes youth participation in the art process.

In the end, as usual in the last performances in the Waldbühne, Paul Linckes “Berliner Luft” was given as the last piece to bring the guests out of the place . So the 20 000 guests were guided directly home via Metro, Stadtbahn, Bus or car.

So, dear Berliners, if you met masses of enchanted persons dressed in raincoats, do not be afraid. That were classical music addicts.
After 16 years with the Berliner Philharmoniker Rattle moves professionally to London, but he will stay residently in Berlin with his wife and the three children. A few days ago, the Orchestra farewelled Rattle with a very special donation, an original transcription of Haydns “Schöpfung” from 1800. Symbolically it is a gift for a professionell upcoming home, even to the Island where Haydn worked the former days.
Now a unique conductor leaves the city, he was following an idiosyncratic way of thinking. Having brought a prussian orchestra in that direction seems surreal. I can hardly believe it today, but it was a time of dawn into the 21st century and I had many occasions to be there. Thank you very much, Sir Simon Rattle for that opportunity 😉

The Press: Das Ende der Ära Rattle von Frederick Hansen

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 25, 2018 7:15 pm


    Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle (Dirigent), Magdalena Kožená (Mezzosopran)

    George Gershwin: Cuban Overture
    Gabriel Fauré: Pavane
    Joseph Canteloube (de Malaret), Chants d’Auvergne (Auswahl), Magdalena Kožená Mezzosopran
    Aram Chatschaturjan: Gayaneh-Suite Nr. 3: Nr. 5 Säbeltanz
    Aram Chatschaturjan: Gayaneh-Suite Nr. 3: Nr. 2 Tanz der jungen Kurden
    Aram Chatschaturjan: Gayaneh-Suite Nr. 1: Nr. 7 Gayanehs Adagio
    Aram Chatschaturjan: Gayaneh-Suite Nr. 1: Nr. 8 Lesginka
    Ottorino Respighi: Pini di Roma
    Claudio Monteverdi: Si dolce è’l tormento (Rattle: Cembalo, Kožená: Mezzosopran)
    Edward Elgar: Punp and Circumstance,March 2
    John Philip Sousa: Liberty Bell
    Paul Lincke: Berliner Luft

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