Retiring Berlin Phil player tells all after 46 years

Peter Brem has retired from the first violins at 65 and written a book about the maestros he worked with – Karajan, Abbado, Rattle.

Brem was an influential figure in the orchestra, chair of its media group from 1992 and the force behind its record deal with the rock group Scorpions, a project widely condemned by traditionalists but apparently a two-million-selling hit.

The book is out now: Peter Brem. Ein Leben lang erste Geige. Rowohlt, 16.99 Euros

peter brem rattle

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  • I was interested in this book until I saw a picture of Simon Prattle a mediocre Conductor, and for the benefit of the uninlightened the CBSO was a great Orchestra before he came on the scene, so let’s cut through all the bs and hype for good.

  • LMAO. I well remember the CBSO before Rattle was appointed. Good at French music perhaps………………….

    • Two silly comments; hard to say which is sillier. Like most UK regional bands in the 1970s the CBSO was overworked and underfunded; but its track record with Heward, Weldon, Schwarz and Boult and its 1960s recordings with Rignold show that it was capable of a very high level of playing. Fremaux unquestionably enhanced that, and his recordings of both French and British music with the CBSO are still benchmarks. However, he left the orchestra in chaos and his successor, Rattle, was (and still is) unquestionably the most important single figure in the orchestra’s history, whether or not his artistic style is to your personal taste (though personally, I find that many Rattle-bashers tend to be motivated principally by non-musical prejudices). His work in Birmingham has left an international legacy – far beyond the concert platform.

    • Some nicely balanced comments there Halldor. Personally, I find him a bit fussy and mannered in the core German repertoire (I think he is better in Mahler and more modern pieces), but the BPO would not have hired him if he was a mediocre conductor.

  • I would look forward to reading that book!! Very much. Same with the recently-retired concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic.

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