Kirill Petrenko has already changed the game in Berlin

From my profile of the Berlin Philharmonic’s incoming chief conductor in today’s Spectator:

It’s hard to keep count of the moulds he has broken. He will be Berlin’s first Russian chief, its first beard since Arthur Nikisch (died 1922), its first Jew. At the time of his election he had not worked with the Berlin Philharmonic for more than four years and had no plans to return. Yet the moment the ballot was cast, Berlin players told anyone who would listen that he was exactly what was needed — a breach with the stolid fixities of orchestral music and a leap into the void with a leader of firm principles who might, just might, cleanse the system of its toxic delusions.

Could Kirill Petrenko be the long-awaited saviour of classical music? 

Read on here.

 

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  • Norman you, as one of the foremost music journalists of the world, have just included (without a hint of irony) the fact that this gentleman as a beard as being relevant to his ability to product a classical music product that will keep government and sucker money flowing. Can’t we at least pretend not to be complete hucksters.

  • long awaited saviour of classical music?
    Who wants that? Berlin doesn’t need saviours. The classical music is doing great there. A great musician is all that is needed.
    If classical music needs anything in its communication with the unwashed masses, it would be less hype, more substance.
    Petrenko seems a great choice for that, communicating substance over hype.

    • Agreed. If everyone had the programming of Berlin Phil, the classical orchestral world would be moving forward. The time in the opera pit, the one open air concert, etc. – the rest of the time is spent on the 500 years of greats – with the best guest conductors.

  • Could Kirill Petrenko be the long-awaited saviour of classical music?

    Yes, Kirill Petrenko is the Messiah of Classical Music, the Moses of Munich, his baton is his rod, instead of dividing the Red Sea, he will unite Germany.

  • What a bullshit! First of all Petrenko was a very odd choice as was initially Rattle also. After Karajan came Abbado who was less good than Herbie. Then came Rattle who was a shadow of his predessesor. He lacked all the aristocracy and refinement Abbado had. Then came Petrenko,maybe a relief after Rattle….saw him conduct Scriabian’s Poeme de l’extase; everything with very big arm movements, it looked like a beginning conductor. Where are the great conductors left? Only the Concergebouw, la Scala, Cso or the Lso have still real maestros on the stage. Anyway Rattle is suited much better for the innovating Lso than for the Bpo….

    • Give the man a chance; he’s still young.

      And I dislike barbs about Christian Thielemann’s supposed political inclinations; it’s gratuitous and detestable. And utter rubbish.

    • Yes, where are they? Where are the orchestras that sounded like no other (as I have said before, even the VPO is increasingly sounding like any other internationalised orchestra anywhere)? Where are the singers who sounded and expressed like no other? And so forth.

      • …. and where are the composers that don’t sound like any other? It is all the result of ‘modernity’, the disappearance of a consensus about classical music’s power to invoke immaterial values and experiences.

    • I used to be a big fan of N.Harnoncourt / Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Their productions were always something pretty unique.

      Have you tried K.Petrenko / Bayerisches Staatsorchester? I think they already sound better, in the good old traditional sense, than most of the other “big” orchestras. Therefore, I do have certain expectations on this man with the Berliner. Let’s see.

      • And those “big arm movements” elicited a performance of the Scriabin that held together better than all of the other ones that I have heard. The Berlin Philharmonic chose him on the basis of his musicianship, not on the basis of his credentials or ties to the corporate world, or his public relations abilities off the podium. I have a feeling this could yield very excellent results, for those that care to listen with open ears. All of his concerts on their digital concert hall stand out to my ears as being well above the norm there, including the one from last fall with the Munich State Orchestra, and he was wonderful the one time that I heard him live with the Metropolitan Opera, when his name was completely unknown to me.

        • Let’s wait and see. It would be great to be positively surprised by him. I certainly look forward to paying him some attention. I failed to mention my admiration for Andris Nelsons, someone who I think has enormous potential. His work in Boston thus far has been near excellent. Again, we will have to wait and see.

  • So it appears that Simon Rattle was no good here but will be wonderful at the LSO?????
    I’m confused.

  • Do you guys have something to say about his Mahler cycle with the Vorarlberg Symphoniker? It is said that Kirill Petrenko was going to study all the nine symphonies of Mahler with his home orchestra. Did they actually carry out this project as planed and perform all the nine symphonies? I haven’t seen any media coverage nor personal reports yet.

    Check it out here ~
    http://www.symphonieorchester-vorarlberg.at/?p=f0isi1-188jli753-756jj-f1is2j-f3is191j-l756

  • I am particularly looking forward to his next appearance with the Berliner Philharmoniker, when they will perform Franz Schmidt’s 4th symphony. Yuja Wang is also joining and that is totally awesome. We are expecting something unique and spectacular there.

    It reminds me of the cooperation between Harnoncourt/WPh and Lang Lang, an encounter between two seemingly parallel universes.

  • I have to admit that I find the headline misleading. It suggest that Petrenko has already changed the game in Berlin, what follows is that he is different from his predecessors.
    1. It is not a change of game if a new chief conductor differs from his predecessor. In Berlin the differences between the conductors have always been remarkable. Some of his views remind me of Celibidache who was on duty for 7 years in Berlin during an important period. For sure he seems to be less communicative to the public than Rattle or Karajan. Since he agreed to continue the Digital Concert Hall we will see to which extent he will do / permit CD recordings.
    2. To my mind, so far he changed little in Berlin. Til know I have the impression that there is (just) some exiciting mood of change. I am sure that he _will_ change the BP.

    The headline of the Spectator article is more appropriate than the headline here:
    Could the new head of the Berlin Phil be a game-changer?

    Yes, of course. But we will see.

  • Truly great conductors are almost all very well versed and educated in opera conducting, were in their early years working mainly as opera conductors. It’s the carreer path that easily discriminates the good and the bad and sharpens the baton skills as well as the hearing like no concert experience can. On a concert stage you can fake it to a degree if you have some charisma and only mediocre dkills. In opera you can’t do that.
    That also points IMO to Petrenko as the most promising of his generation.

  • Truly great conductors are almost all very well versed and educated in opera conducting, were in their early years working mainly as opera conductors. It’s the carreer path that easily discriminates the good and the bad and sharpens the baton skills as well as the hearing like no concert experience can. On a concert stage you can fake it to a degree if you have some charisma and only mediocre skills. In opera you can’t do that.
    That also points IMO to Petrenko as the most promising of his generation.

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