Simon Rattle: Sadiq backs my new concert hall

From an interview today with the gushing editor of London’s freesheet:

Rattle was impressed that Mayor Sadiq Khan managed to see him conduct Pelléas et Mélisande  at the Barbican in the middle of the mayoral campaign. He is a big fan of the new mayor. “I mean, what a fantastic thing for London, and how wonderful on day two to have an enemy in Donald Trump. What a feather in the cap for London. I was thrilled that Sadiq Khan was so in support of the idea of culture being at the centre of a city and the idea that it is everyone’s right. It can’t be a matter of privilege or chance. It should be something everyone can have in their life, and that means knowing what it is.”

sadiq khan chief rabbi
Sadiq with Chief Rabbi

Earlier in the piece, the Barbican chief Nick Kenyon calls Rattle ‘the Benedict Cumberbatch of classical music’.

 

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  • Enough, really, with “Simon Rattle’s Hall.” A lot of concert halls get built through the tireless advocacy of a prominent figure. Isaac Stern helped keep Carnegie Hall from being turned into a parking garage, Esa-Pekka Salonen pushed for years to get Disney Hall built, Gerard Schwarz lobbied tirelessly for Benaroya Hall, Kent Nagano for Montreal’s Maison Symphonique. And the Berlin Philharmonie was long derided as “Karajan’s Circus,” which suggests he had some role in bringing it about.

    It’s not unreasonable to suggest that a city as big and wealthy and cultured as London could use another – and significantly better – concert hall. Sir Simon is in a position to advocate for it; good for him.

  • Barbican chief Nick Kenyon calls Rattle ‘the Benedict Cumberbatch of classical music’.

    Neat soundbite, no doubt, but one wonders quite what he meant by it. Did he mean to suggest that Simon Rattle only plays the part of a conductor? Was he referring to what he perceives as Simon Rattle’s ubiquity? Answers on a postcard, please; we should be told.

    Not so long ago, I heard someone being described as “the Jimmy Savile of music”; I’m more or less as unclear as to what that was supposed to mean…

  • Simon Rattle is a very talented conductor and a most nice man, and certainly he is right about the lousy concert halls in London. It is also understandable that he wants a new venue where he could properly perform. But any new concert hall in London which would not be built in shoebox form (that is, with a wall behind the podium reflecting the sound into the audience) is predicted to fail – such as the München Gasteig, which had been opened by Sergiu Celibidache with Bruckner´s Fifth and Schütz´ Musical Exequies, with Celibidache commenting: “Gasteig is dead hall, needs rrräquiem forrr opening” – and he was so right!
    Rattle should have learned that in Berlin Phil already, in which the sound merely passes by like a train on a platform from left to right, without being directed to the audience at all. For this very reason, also the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie is due to fail (the huge funnel under the roof may direct the sound perfectly to any single seat in the hall indeed, but the sound will be monaural and from a distance, like listening deep into an old grammophone, and with a total lack of colours and space).
    Götterdämmerung for fans of space and colour and individuality and richness of sound and natural balance in the orchestra.

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