Berlin tabloid tells Philharmoniker to get on with it

Berlin tabloid tells Philharmoniker to get on with it


norman lebrecht

May 15, 2015

bild berlin

Berlin’s number 1 tabloid B.Z. publishes a full-page op-ed by Norman Lebrecht this morning, warning the Berlin Philharmonic of the dangers of delay in selecting a music director and suggesting two ways out of the present impasse. B.Z. has the biggest readership in Berlin. It is unashamedly tabloid and working-class.

Its focus on the election signifies the importance of the Philharmonic to Berlin, and to Germany.

An English version of the op-ed will appear next week.


  • Simon S. says:

    At first, “Bild” and “BZ” are two different papers, though both in the hands of the same publishing corporation (Axel Springer).

    Then, they’re not just “unashamedly tabloid and working-class”. Leaving aside the fact that it isn’t really “working class” if you tell the working class that tax cuts that only benefit millionaires are good for them, Bild and BZ have never cared for factual accuracy nor for minimal ethical standards in reporting.

    Any bit of consideration for them is too much. And seeing them as a potential ally for arts is a helplessly lost endeavour.

    • Peter says:

      That NY Times article is to the core: All orchestras suffer from the “Messiah” syndrome. Somebody should appear and do the magic for them, making them a better orchestra. To sit down and work hard, hard, hard, and develop the orchestra from within, now that’s a very unpopular concept, since it requires nothing but dedication and hard work. Not many orchestras have realized this. It’s not the conductor’s fault. It’s the fault of the lazy asses in the orchestra who project the improvements on the single individual called Conductor.

    • herrera says:

      My fantasy is to see Alex Ross given free reign of the NY Philharmonic just to see how fast he can drive the organization to bankruptcy. 6 months or 3?

      (Alex Ross is the influential critic of the New Yorker and fervent advocate of contemporary music. My sense is that he’d be perfectly happy if every American orchestra stopped playing anything written prior to 1975.)

    • Nicht Schleppend says:

      Now cracks a noble heart.

  • Sébastien Chonion says:

    Rattle will be the last MD of BPO, I reckon. No concensus has been found, the best and wisest pretendants resigned before the vote started, they knew the situation and what was going to come!
    BPO will become the second guest-conducted orchestra in the world after Vienna Philharmonic who opted for this in 1933.
    Bets on?!

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Imagine The Sun or The Daily Mirror running a piece like this on the LSO. Bild might be ‘unashamedly tabloid and working class’ but they display an interest in culture their international counterparts never demonstrate. It’s even more impressive considering the paper rarely has more than about ten pages.

  • Andrew R. Barnard says:

    I don’t understand the rush. The new director won’t take over until 2018. [redacted]

  • Milka says:

    In the “world ” scheme of things does it really matter when &who conducts the Berlin
    orchestra ? , it is interesting to observe that a few thousand out of millions upon millions think the world
    revolves around an orchestra and that without a stick waver in front of that orchestra the world
    will go kaput . Except to the small minority Berlin would still be Berlin , orchestra or
    not .That the Daily Mirror might not run a similar article on the LPO reflects good sense .London without the LPO is still a great city ………

  • Anon says:

    The Berliner Philharmoniker. An orchestra in search of it’s meaning, after their God died.

  • norman lebrecht says:

    Rapid reaction in Die Welt: It goes against football logic.

  • John Lancaster says:

    Gosh Norman, isn’t it wonderful to be loved(ha ha)
    The dual conductor idea is a nice way to try and appease the opposing factions, if Thielemann/Nelsons haven’t already backed out.

  • John Lancaster says:

    I suspect the opposing factions at the BPO will never come to an agreement with Theilemann/Nelsons. They would be better off selecting someone entirely different so they both can agree.

  • DESR says:

    They would both be terrific at the job. But surely not together, a recipe for chaos!

    Nelsons’ Lohengrin at Bayreuth has grown and grown quite wonderfully over the last few year. He is also conducting Parsifal in Birmingham this weekend as his farewell to the CBSO. The idea that he would wish to leave the German repertoire alone is bonkers!

    However, Thielemann has no peer in such music at the moment, at least not at such a consistently high level. But he too is keen to broaden his repertoire – the Salzburg Cav & Pag, and the Manon Lescaut last year, are proof of that.

    If one or other ‘group’ will not give way, then what about Thielemann as GMD and Nelsons as Principal Guest Conductor?

  • Novagerio says:

    In case a critics advice is needed, I just wonder why nobody has asked a true Kritikerlegende such as Joachim Kaiser (a true royalty in the field of musical and journalistic knowledge and know-hows) what he makes out of this whole issue….

  • Rob van der Hilst says:

    Thomas Hengelbrock perhaps…???

  • Novagerio says:

    Well, I do!…

  • James McCarty says:

    What difference does it make? They’re still going to be playing modern instruments in the Parkinsonian manner.