Simon Rattle passes judgement on his likely successors

He was asked to assess them in Die Welt.

Here’s the judge’s verdict:

Die Welt: Gustavo Dudamel.

Rattle: An ihm mag ich Wärme, Gefühle, Großzügigkeit. (I like him a lot)

Die Welt: Andris Nelsons.

Rattle: Er hat so viel Fantasie, Freude und Unbefangenheit. (Lots of fanstasy, joy and ease)

Die Welt: Mariss Jansons.

Rattle: Er ist der Beste von uns allen! (the best of us all)

Die Welt: Riccardo Chailly.

Rattle: Mmmm. Er ist der andere Beste von uns. Schwieriger zu charakterisieren. (Schweigen) Ich mag seine Konzerte sehr, mir fehlen aber jetzt die Worte. (Schweigen) Er hat Tiefe und Fluss. In einer verrückten Weise empfinde ich ihn als den jüngsten unserer Gastdirigenten.

(the other best of us all)

Die Welt: Daniel Barenboim.

Rattle: Ja! Was kann man sagen? Er ist Musik von Grund auf. (what can you saY? He’s music from the ground up)

Die Welt: Christian Thielemann.

Rattle: Er besitzt eine wirklich erstaunliche Fähigkeit zu bekommen, was er will … sehr eindrucksvoll … (He has…  a truly amazing ability to get what he wants).

thielemann merkel

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    • If Thielemann gets the job, the relationship will come apart very quickly. He has a very small repertoire, he will never involve himself with education or outreach programmes, he has very little stamina, he has a deeply unpleasant personality and will fall out with the Players Board because he will regard himself as the only important ‘player’ – which is fatal in Berlin. The orchestra is also not versed in opera (they failed in Salzburg and have failed again in Baden-Baden). Thielemann has a wonderful palette of jobs at the moment (to which will shortly be added the Music Directorship of Bayreuth). He can go to Berlin and Vienna when he wishes, has both Bayreuth and the Salzburg Easter Festival and very little administrative responsibility in any of them. Above all, he has one of the world’s great opera and symphonic orchestras in Dresden. He’d be a fool to give all this up for Berlin.

      • I was just listening to Thielemann last night on the Digital Concert Hall, and he does indeed have a very unique sound with the orchestra, very much a traditional one. But there’s no reason why he should take over the orchestra. He should continue regularly guest conducting the orchestra, and the orchestra should start releasing CDs on their own label.

        I think the orchestra needs someone who is established and used to working with front rank orchestras and who has shown depth and maturity. For me, the choice is very obvious.

    • You don’t need to know. ..the orchestra does…they probably are the only one to know what they need. If Thielemann…then it will be a fantastic Ära

  • I never realized we had so many great, great conductors. Shurely the finest line-up in the history of baton wavers.

    • But is the Berlin Phil actually arrogant? They are the best in the orchestral world and they know it. Nothing surprising about that. They’ve maintained the highest level and they have every reason to be proud of it.

      • There is no such thing as “the best” in the orchestra world. It all depends what parameters are under scrutiny. Berlin Phil is a phantastic orchestra. But not “the best” unless you define precisely in musical and technical terms, what that means.

        Take for instance an orchestra like the Vienna Phil, they can create sounds and phrasings, particularly in the string groups, that I have not heard in recent years in Berlin, for instance. I could go on and on…

        • Then there’s the ensemble blend, intonation and beautiful sound of Philadelphia, so often ignored by the Europhiles on this blog.

          • Not ignored. But the orchestra is in Philadelphia. Recordings don’t tell the whole story. So comparisons are difficult, unless you are an affluent classical music jet setter.
            Can you say how is the intonation special in Philadelphia? And what is “beautiful sound” exactly? I have an idea, but it is my idea.

  • In a recent edition of Building a Library on Beethoven’s ‘”Eroica” the reviewer (Sir Nicholas Kenyon) was least impressed with the Thielmann version. It was a fascinating and thorough roundup of the numerous available recordings though inevitably a very subjective choice.

    • Kenyon is in any case very partisan. He’s a paid-up member of the period mafia, is more interested in French and contemporary music than in the core German repertory – choosing him for the Building A Library survey was a complete aberration, in my view – and full of adulation for Rattle, whose fawning biographer he just happens to be.

      • I am not paid by the “period mafia” (honestly!), I have never written a biography of Rattle, I do like German music (but French music, too!) – but I didn’t think that Thielemann’s Eroica was all that great either. Very solidly done, of course, excellent orchestral playing, of course – I just didn’t think it was anything really “special”. And when there are already so many recordings of the Beethoven symphonies, that’s probably not enough to attract much attention, I think.

  • Barenboim: the perfect fit. Knows how to play an orchestra, has held a major directorship, and has the largest international reputation, by far, of all those names. Berlin would sound great with him.

  • I like them all, but I would go for the one that would refrain from doing the complete Beethoven symphonies. We have to move on (^_~)

  • Mr Barnard can only mean Jansons (would be the best and then grow another successor alongside him for five years) or Chailly…..

    • Exactly. He’s at a musical high right now with BR, even though his Concertgebouw reign was largely disappointing, in my opinion. Give him five to ten years in Berlin as a kind of Indian summer, and in the meantime give the youngsters time to grow. Then in, say 2025, we can be looking at Nelsons, Dudamel, Petrenko (both of them!), Jurowski, Nezet-Seguin, Harding, and the rest all over again. I can’t think of a more ideal solution.

        • Why is Dudamel a joke? He regularly guest performs with the orchestra, and they clearly admire him. Just because he takes advantage of media hype does not mean he is inherently unmusical. Was Bernstein a joke?

      • I disagree that his reign was disappointing. Under his reign Concertgebouw was named the best orchestra in the world, and he maintened a consistently high standard in recordings and concerts. Of course, judgment depends on subjective criterias of interpretation and sound preferences. I agree, though, that Jansons is at his best with BRSO; they have an unique alchemy that make them probably the finest orchestra/conductor partnership at the moment. Im not sure he, at his age, would leave that for a short-term contract with the highly exposed (and much-hyped) Berlin Philharmonic…

        • The Concertgebouw was up to the highest international standards under Jansons, but the interpretations usually sounded bland to me. It was only in recent years with some splendid recordings in Munich that I became a great fan of Jansons’. His Britten War Requiem, his Verdi Requiem, Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique, Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich 6th Symphonies, Strauss Ein Heldenleben, all extremely good.

          Berlin has a huge name, but it’s for obvious reasons. Listen to the interviews of the top conductors working with them and it becomes obvious that they all view Berlin as being at the very top. For that reason, if Jansons’ health permits, I can see no reason why he wouldn’t accept the post.

          • I’m sorry to disagree once more. Jansons himself said no more than 2 weeks ago that he never sought prestige in his career, and that if he had, he would have chosen Concertgebouw over BRSO. In Munich he felt a moral obligation to fight for a new concert hall, in addition to having a great relationship with the orchestra. He also said that Berlin is a huge responsability and that he’s not the kind of person to take responsabilities lightly. So don’t think he will jump on the Berlin wagon because of its history and glamour, because he’s not this kind of guy.

      • While in 2025 it may be a good idea to look at Petrenko, Dudaumel, Nezet-Seguin and co, if current trends persist all of them may be by then unfairly treated like yesterday’s news. By then the media attention may turn to younger curly haired dudes (or, better, some blonde beauty). Just as today Pappano or Bychkov are undeservedly not “hot” for the media.

  • Regarding the photo, does Thielemann have a partner/companion/significant other? Is he ever photographed with him?

    • In case you are puzzled by the people in the photo, it’s all quite simple: from left to right it’s Merkel’s spouse (Joachim Sauer), Thielemann, the German Chancellor herself and the Minister-President of Bavaria, Horst Seehofer. No significant other for Christian in that photo.

  • There is a recording which parodies movie trailers of the mid 1900s – goes something
    like this ” See (stars name ) in her greatest role , then goes on to describe glowing performance
    a male star is mentioned , same terms
    then producer same terms and so on down the line. After each, a voice over notes that
    she is full of …. he is full of …. and so on down the line.
    Then the last “Come see star 1 name star 2 name director etc . in their greatest work
    yet to hit the silver screen ” The voice over notes they are all full of ….( begins with s )
    Same for conductors …………………

  • If Dudamel ever lands a “big five” directorship in the US or Berlin or Amsterdam in Europe, it will be time to re-evaluate Copernicus.

      • The “Big Five” is completed outdated and has been for decades.

        Los Angeles is a far better ensemble than the New York Phil, and rivals most of the others. San Francisco, too. I understand the backlash against Dudamel due to the hype around him, but it doesn’t mean that he isn’t talented or that his current orchestra isn’t one of the best in the U.S. and the world.

        • I’ve heard the LA and the SF in recent years and believe me, they are second-rung compared to the NY Philharmonic. People need to start listening more and reading hype less.

          • In which aspect(s)? These comparisons are utter nonsense, unless specific parameters of orchestral playing and interpretation are compared for certain performances.

  • These are non-answer answers from a lame duck. Why is anyone listening to this? Is Berlin really boring enough to give the job to Barenboim? This will be a one baton town. Also, no one ever talks about how overworked and inconsistent Barenboim can be. The only real obvious choice for the job is Theilemann but the Berliners are concerned about being viewed as returning to some kind of nationalism. If you are all honest with yourselves you’ll see that we’re in a nationalist age where Sir Simon is returning to Great Britain, Gergiev is Czar of Mariinsky, Dudamel is the Simon Bolivar of Classical Music (i.e. Maestro of Latin America and Mexifornia) and even Barenboim is a Nationalist with his recommendation coming from Furtwangler when he was a child.

    The natural choice for Berlin is Theilemann but then again perhaps it will go with Yannick and surprise us all.

  • Chailly is known for dedicating himself to one post and that post will be La Scala. You will see him announce his exit Gewandhaus by next year. Also, his health is not ideal for two posts. He has never held two post simultaneously and keeps guest conducting to a minimum. This was the case in Amsterdam as well.

  • Of course none of US are involved in the decision, the orchestra players alone will vote.
    They have worked repeatedly with all the gentlemen under consideration and
    are certainly more familiar with the roll call and what it means for them than are we.
    They know exactly what it is like to have Thielemann and Dudamel and Nelsons before them, and what is at stake for everyone. No point in being so know-it-all and governessy.
    We will not, that’s not, be consulted. Thank God.

    • That’s because they are irrelevant and not very revealing, everyone is perfect according to those comments…

  • When are we expecting the result?

    I don’t think the orchestra could go far wrong with Chailly, Thielemann or Jansons…

    Chailly and Herr Thielemann have La Scala and Bayreuth to contend with so either is unlikely. CT would be better off sticking in Dresden, though I suspect he would be drawn to the BPO. Who wouldn’t?

    And can we lay off the Thielemann is gay/right wing schtick please? Irrelevant!

    • I think it will be hard for people who want to make “pointed” remarks but who don’t have much to say about music and music making to lay off that…

  • Why is everyone so bloody sensitive? I just want to know who Thielemans’s significant other is, if anyone happens to know. Sheesh, if I had asked who Rattle’s wife is, no one would have batted an eye. So, I ask, again, for my own curiosity, just because I want to know, who is Thielemann’s significant other? If you don’t know, feel free to stfu.

  • One other thing: why on earth is Rattle commenting on potential successors? Totally undignified and inappropriate.

    • That’s probably why his comments were basically bland praise of all the potential successors mentioned, and said nothing controversial or critical of any of them.

    • You are right… but he said only good words, which is pretty amazing in itself in a field that generally lacks a good word between colleagues. If he were trashing some of them, then it would have been a different story.

    • Erm, possibly he’s commenting because he was asked to comment? That’s what tends to happen in interviews.

      • And he doesn’t have to answer what is really mischief-making.

        All positive remarks except the one on Thielemann which is suitably pejorative. My point precisely.

      • Many people are asked questions, and before they answer, they need to think if it would be helpful or additive, whether for themselves or others. In his position, it is not as simple as, ‘a journalist asked me a question and so I answered it’. That would be naive behind belief.

        • What a curious notion. It would be ‘naive beyond belief’ if he’d actually given candid opinions. He clearly has thought carefully before answerring and has said something tactful, complimentary and non-committal in each case – exactly as one would expect from any professional.

  • a sneaky comment by the interviewer:

    [Rattle] Dabei hat selbst Daniel Barenboim zu mir gesagt, ich müsse unbedingt nach London gehen, ich sei die einzige Person, die das schaffen könne.

    Die Welt: Oder er wollte Sie loswerden, um Sie endlich zu beerben!

    Rattle: So gemein können nur Journalisten sein. Ein Dirigent würde nie im Traum so etwas denken … (grinst)

  • Lads, you are for-get-ting some-one: Mr. Peter Dijkstra, Topdog in orchestra- and choirconductor #NextGenerationSublime

    • Indeed, any Dijkstra recording I have heard sounds sublime to me. But would he play to his strengths if he led the BPO? his strengths seem to be with choral conducting and mostly 18th century music.

  • Many if not all of the conductors discussed here have other posts…Jansons, has had health issues. I like him but what is to say his health could not become an issue again. One conductor not talked about here does not have a post….Semyon Bychkov. He has worked with the orchestra as a regular guest for about 30 years, making his first recordings for Philips with Berlin in the mid 80’s.

    In my view he has much of what the orchestra is looking for:

    1. He conducts opera often…does many of the operas that the orchestra did very well with Karajan ( or that Karajan did elsewhere) such as: Otello, Don Carlo, Aida, Rosenkavilier, Elektra, Die Frau, the Wagner Operas…

    2. He conducts Bruckner, Mahler, Strauss, Beethoven, Schubert etc…and does much of it at a very high level.

    3. He does many French works, Russian composers to (of course).

    4. His rep is wider than Thielemann for example.

    5. He is younger than Jansons and might be the bridge between now and the younger conductors mentioned above. He could stay 10-12 years in Berlin and then they could move on to one of the younger conductors.

    I think he would continue the education projects etc, started by Rattle or would be more inclined to than let’s say Thielemann. Bychkov was also liked by Karajan and for bettter or worse the orchestra knows him very well as they worked with him for about 30 years like I mentioned above.

    It is strange that no one mentions him. He is an excellent conductor and would do many interesting opera projects with Berlin at the Easter Festival. They could do Struass, Wagner operas, bring back some Verdi. Perhaps do Boris with him and maybe Shostakovich Lady Macbeth.

    Baremboim at Easter has his own festival in Berlin, how could he do that and Baden Baden? Jansons has done some opera but like Rattle has not figured as big into his musical activities. Bychkov has been at Convent Garden, LaScala, Salzburg (in summer), Vienna State Opera, etc… I hope the orchestra seriously considers him…he would be a good choice.

    • I also forgot to mention that Bychkov has done Britten and Elgar…so he would bring that to the orchestra. It is somewhat surprising Rattle did not do more English with Berlin.

    • Yes, Bychkov is an excellent conductor who I also think would be an interesting choice. But I don’t know anything more about who is actually most likely to get nominated by the orchestra than all the people here who don’t know either but who felt the need to comment as if they did, so I am not going to speculate if he has a realistic chance or not.

  • No question,
    Simon Bychkov has to be considered being on the very
    same level as all names mentioned so far. He has been
    devoted to the orchestras he had been Chief conductor of.
    Maybe he has even the biggest repertory of all competitors.
    Yes, he would be first Choice. My guess, however, is Gustavo Dudamel. Berlin Phil has so many Young musicians and that Match would be exciting to the whole
    music world. But there is nothing to say against
    Mr. Jansons nor Mr. Thielemann, both great choices, too!

  • This is the quote

    “Und ich kann warten, bis die augenblicklich so netten Londoner Kritiker wieder den Essig auspacken.

  • It will definitely not be Bychkov for exactly the same (unfortunately completely non-musical) reasons that it was not Barenboim the last time. I don’t need to spell it out in any further detail. Maybe in 100 more years Berlin will be ready for a Barenboim or a Bychkov. I don’t like either Dudamel or Thielemann. The issues with Thielemann were brought out above (I can’t imagine a music director in Berlin in this day and age who refuses to conduct Mahler!). As for Dudamel, despite the Deutsche Grammophon connection, he is 99% a creation of hype and would be cruelly overexposed if he went to Berlin. The reality is that in Los Angeles no one really cares a rodent’s posterior about the Los Angeles Philharmonic; all they care about there are the dresses the women wear to the Academy Awards and the weekly film grosses. Things are drastically different in Berlin.

    • Bychkov is a wonderful musician. I have no idea if ‘the reason’ (let’s not beat about the bush, the fact that he is Jewish) you refer to has any validity as at all these days, though I suspect and indeed hope not. More relevant in his case is his desire to remain freelance, and to pick and choose repertoire and then allow his agent to fix him up with the dates to match across a number of favoured orchestras and opera houses.

      For the record, Thielemann has said that he hasn’t yet conducted Mahler because he doesn’t feel ready for it. That is, he approaches his work from a position of respect rather than anything else – and whether he will or won’t in future, no one can know.

      • It quite an outrageous insult to suggest, that Barenboim was not elected last time, because he was Jewish. Shame on Michael B. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Phantom pain as in phantom antisemitism. Some apparently can’t live without perceived antisemitism, it defines their identity it seems. Sad.

        In Berlin nobody gives a rodent’s behind, if Bychkov is Jewish, Klingon, Vegetarian, Pastafarian or whatever, his qualities as a conductor and leader is all that is to discuss on the table.

    • Thielemann has conducted a little Mahler – he did the 8th Symphony and some orchestral songs during the Mahler anniversary year in Munich. But that’s about all.

    • “The reality is that in Los Angeles no one really cares a rodent’s posterior about the Los Angeles Philharmonic; all they care about there are the dresses the women wear to the Academy Awards and the weekly film grosses.”

      What utter nonsense.

      The orchestra regularly packs the seats at Disney Hall with both young and old listeners. The Phil is also one of the few orchestras in America that’s doing great financially and has increased its endowment from 60 million in 2000 to 222 million in 2013. Lots of big time donors and support has been coming in for quite a while.

      • It is Easter day, have the TV on in the background: Mahler Symphony no.2 Jansons/Concertgebouw — of course kind of makes sense, and also great performance…
        BUT, for the 100,000th time ????!!!!!!!!

        Well said! ‘Enough is enough is more than enough.’

        • Perhaps that could be said of other composers as well such as Beethoven, Brahms, Richard Strauss that the orchestra plays all the time. As mentioned above I would like to see the orchestra record all the Nielsen symphonies, they have or will record all the Sibelius (Karajan did not do #3). Perhaps after 40 years recording all the Dvorak symphonies would be fine with me. Does Thielemann do Nielsen and Dvorak? Berlin should get a conductor who does….I would also like to see the Berlin Philharmonic record some Bartok orchestral works such as Wooden Prince, Dance Suite, 4 orchestral pieces. Berlin could also start performing more Alban Berg works, beyond the 3 pieces for orchestra and the Violin Concerto. Does Thielemann conduct Berg? Gurrelieder of Schoenberg?

    • If Dudamel is mostly a creature of hype, what about poor old Mahler.
      Too many ‘music lovers’ are willingly hornswaggled, need to be told what to think,
      live to be gleichgeschaltet and kept in step. Let’s face it.

    • Michael B., do you know the joke about the Jewish stutterer who went to the radio station to apply for the job of program announcer? He came back home. “And how did it go?”, his fiancee asked. He answered “I-i-i d-d-didn’t g-g-get the j-j-job. B-b-b-bloody a-a-anti-s-s-semites.”

  • Sir Simon probably made the comments because he was asked, and he said nice things; probably because he’s a decent sort who doesn’t seem to have major professional jealousies (and even if he does, he’s king of Berlin so can afford to be magnanimous).

    No need to be so coy, Michael B: You don’t think the BPO would hire a Jewish music director. Maybe, maybe not; the BPO is a very international group these days (50 of 128 players are foreigners), not some batch of dead-enders. I think there were plenty of other (legitimate) reasons that they didn’t pick Barenboim over Sir Simon last time. Could simply be that they love and respect him, but just don’t see him as the leader for the kind of orchestra they want to be. And Barenboim was in the middle of his Chicago tenure at the time.

    • Barenboim was also at the Staatsoper…so that would have been 3 full time posts when Rattle had zero. If they want someone who does not have another post, Bychkov would make sense. I like Jansons, but wonder if his health can hold up.

      • And Rattle had, back then, the much more prestigious record label affiliation (EMI), compared to Barenboim (Teldec), looking much more prosperous in prospect… No small factor, especially with this orchestra…

  • Interesting with all these names one I’m surprised isn’t there: Esa-Pekka Salonen. Certainly would seem to be someone of appropriate stature, and I would argue is probably the most likely person to continue Sir Simon’s leadership style. Though I notice he hasn’t conducted the orchestra in five years or more. The NY Times was speculating about his as a very desirable successor to Alan Gilbert.

    • Why do you think that they want somebody to continue Rattle’s work? I guess they want to come back to their roots. So we should just trust them! Nobody else than the musicians will decide…

    • The orchestra does know itself what the need and why they probably don’t want someone who continues SSR job. They need to come back to the roots and that’s first the musical aspect which is the most important. Byshkow will certainly not be in the list. He is nothing more than a routine conductor who wouldn’t bring anything. But again it will be in the musicians interest to make the right choice.

      • I would be surprised if they want to stop the education programs, and the reach out that Rattle has started. The younger members and even some of the older members I doubt would go for that.

      • Since you don’t even know how to spell Bychkov’s name, is it too much of a stretch to assume that you aren’t particularly familiar with his work – if at all?

  • My $0.02 is that no conductor needs the directorship of the Berliner to be at the summit of musical world. For instance, I could name at least 5 to 6 “candidates” that would excite me way more than hearing Rattle w/ the Berliner. Not to marginalize Rattle – I am just saying that a Berliner concert is no longer a guarantee good one (let alone a great one).

    The other hard truth is that the Berliner thinks it’s bigger than life, it wants to continue to be bigger than life. There is _no_ candidate that is bigger than life yet to match the Berliner. There are many great conductors but none like household name such as Karajan, Solti and Bernstein. Dudamel is the next closest out there, and on this ground, he may be a front runner.

    So, would a bigger than life conductor want to the 2nd or 3rd fiddle of the Berliner, who consistently think they are better than their conductors? (not my opinion .. google the interviews and see for yourself). If Berliner has a hard-time to find it’s perfect candidate, they have nobody to blame but themselves.

    Nevertheless, what do I care? For the past 8-10 years, I enjoy the concerts by Wiener, Concertgebouw, Dresden, Bavarian Radio, Chicago, Lucerne and Philadelphia et al way way more than Berliner’s at Carnegie. Nuff said.

  • Always interesting to look at the age of the Berliner Philharmoniker chief conductors of the past, the day of their election:

    Furtwängler: 36
    Karajan: 47
    Abbado: 56
    Rattle: 47
    N.N.: ?

    If we use the age of the conductors at their election as a trend function, the new chief conductor should be 36 years old… 😉
    Who could that be?

  • By the way, and re. Thielemann’s rather limited repertoire: it didn’t stop them going to Carlos Kleiber to ask the question… And his repertoire was much more limited than Thielemann’s.

    • Agreed, but Thielemann and Kleiber cannot be mentioned in the same sentence.
      If you get someone of the calibre of Kleiber you make compromises. Thielemann – I think we all agree – doesn’t come close to that calibre.

      Let’s face it, there is no conductor around these days with the magic of Furtwängler, Kleiber, Celibidache, Bernstein, even Giulini.

      I’m pretty sure they will pick Thielemann, he ticks most of the boxes.

      Barenboim is a wonderful pianist but not a good conductor, sorry, and that’s why they didn’t pick him at the time. Plus, he’s too old now.

      • Not such a wonderful pianist these days IMHO – was very disconcerted by his constant foot stamping and noisy pedalling at a Liszt recital I attended in the Musikverein a few years ago.

      • Barenboim was a wonderful pianist and good conductor maybe 20 years ago.
        Today he is a great conductor and a mediocre pianist. Simply with his workload as a conductor and chief, you can’t keep in shape as a pianist on the top level. Also with age the memory fades if you don’t practice enough.

        • Ok, I’ll have to take your word for it. I last listened to him as a pianist in concert maybe 10-15 years ago, and at the time he was outstanding.

          I admire Barenboim for his efforts with the Divan Orchestra and all his middle eastern peace efforts, for that he is unique. He’s a good conductor, his Wagner sounds spectacular but he’s not a great conductor. I could listen to him talking for hours but the actual music he makes isn’t that great I find. Anyways, that’s a personal opinion which no one needs to share.

          It’s clear though that he’s no contender for the Berliner, partly due to age as well.

  • Haha…rattle s wife is the one who sings every year in the opera with her husband and his orchestra. and on every tour…

  • Aside from agreeing with Papageno, I have to bring up one other of Michael B’s comments: [Dudamel] is 99% a creation of hype and would be cruelly overexposed if he went to Berlin.

    If he were just a “creation of hype”, why would he be repeatedly invited back to conduct Berlin (and Vienna for that matter) year after year? They and any big orchestra would see through that “hype” immediately. He may not be Berlin’s next music director but it looks like he is a welcome guest.

  • Just wondering…does Berlin HAVE to choose a Music Director? Can they do something along the Vienna model? It seems that there is no front runner or even two front runners. Not sure, but it’s an option I haven’t seen discussed.

  • I would go for Barenboim, because of his manysidedness. he conducts Boulez en Carter as convincing as the great tradition.

  • My dark horse candidate, and a great conductor he is, and very self-effacing: Daniele Gatti. There could be great synergy between him and the orchestra, and a musical excitement that has been absent during the Rattle years. If the choice were up to me, I would vote for Gatti as the most promising even if he hasn’t been mentioned at all in the opinions collected above.

    Otherwise, I vote for Thielemann over all the ones mentioned.

    • The reason Gatti has not been mentioned is that he is already scheduled to take over the Concertgebouw in 2016

  • No factor at all, the recording industry is almost dead, and it already was when Rattle got elected. Recordings are now mostly just made for prestige purposes. There is hardly any money in them. And if Barenboim had gotten the position, that would have boasted his prestige anyway, and he might have made a few more recordings. But he has still made just about as many recordings as Rattle has even in the past 15 years or so.

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