Maestro news: Brit bails out Berlin Phil

Maestro news: Brit bails out Berlin Phil


norman lebrecht

December 02, 2014

Kirill Petrenko, a 12-1 Slipped Disc outsider to succeed Simon Rattle, has ducked out of this week’s three concerts of Mahler 6.

Panic stations.

Luckily, Daniel Harding has flown in at less than 24 hours notice to calm the nerves.

daniel harding


  • Boring Fileclerk says:

    I say they hand the orchestra over to a unknown 14 year old girl who can show them how it’s done!

  • Mark Stratford says:

    Why did Petrenko cancel – was he ill? And did Harding conduct the same piece ?

    • Andrew R. Barnard says:

      Not sure why Petrenko cancelled, but yes, Harding will be conducting the same piece. And surely Harding must also be a candidate to succeed Rattle, right?

      • sdReader says:

        Yeah, why did he cancel? There is nothing (easily findable) on the Berlin Phil’s flashy website.

        No Brit has a prayer of following Rattle.

        They want Thielemann but may not get him, and so the field is wide open — except for Brits!

  • ganymede says:

    Great choice for conductor! And yes, he conducts the same piece. I have heard him do Mahler 6 before, he does it really well.

    • Max Grimm says:

      I wish not to denigrate Mr. Harding’s interpretations of Mahler, but I was actually looking forward to hear Mr. Petrenko’s interpretation and am slightly disappointed that I will not get the chance.
      In regards to Mr. Harding’s Mahler interpretations in particular, while at times interesting, I lean toward Mr. Borstlap’s choice of words of “rather on the thin side”.

  • Luciano says:

    It’s not the first time he has bailed in Berlin. A few years back Semyon Bychkov had to jump in at the last minute. I don’t think any conductor has been so comfortable with cancelling on Berlin since Carlos Kleiber. Quite strange.

    • sdReader says:

      He was for five years GMD of the Komische Oper there, and nobody gave a shit about him. Why should he now give a damn what Berlin thinks?

  • John Borstlap says:

    With due respect for Harding’s musicality and technique, I found his interpretations often rather on the thin side. Not much depth there, a bit like Rattle. But Mahler VI luckily provides lots of noise.

    I greatly admire the courage of conductors prepared to step-in at the last minute and save a concert, whatever their artistic qualities.

    I remember a story of a young French conductor who was asked to immediately, at an unsuspected morning, substitute a conductor who failed to get through a rehearsel at the Netherlands radio orchestra of a big Revueltas piece with big choir and extensive kitchen cutlery section. He took his tooth brush and some underwear, borrowed a pocket score from a friend, read through the piece in the plane, was rushed in a taxi to the studio and jumped into a Mexican sound jungle. The performance in the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam – which I attended – was brilliant, but the savior looked alarmingly pale after the concert and had to be revived with rather strong drinks. The orchestra played with extreme intensity…. these are the kicks one gets out of live performances.

  • Thierry Chervel says:

    You call Petrenko a “12-1 Slipped Disc outsider to succeed Simon Rattle”. do you have a list with your most probable candidates?

  • Simon S. says:

    Petrenko certainly is the far better opera conductor than Harding. However, I can’t judge their abilities in the symphonic repertoire.

  • Jan says:

    N. Jarvi subbed for Petrenko a few years back- program was Shostakovich 14/ Strauss/ Tchaikovsky

  • Peter Edwards says:

    I was lucky enough to attend the concert in Berlin on 4th December. The concert was excellent and the orchestra responded well to Daniel Harding. Read the 5 Star review in Bachtrack.