Something for the weekend: Berlin says ‘thank you, Sir Simon’

Something for the weekend: Berlin says ‘thank you, Sir Simon’


norman lebrecht

June 15, 2018

The Berlin Philharmonic will live-stream a star-studded send-off for its outgoing music director tomorrow night.

We think it’s free.

Click here Saturday at 9pm Berlin, 8pm London, 3pm New York.



  • Barry Guerrero says:

    Yeah, really, enough of this nonsense of bashing Rattle’s time in Berlin. He did some very good things there. I have a wonderful Warner Classics disc of Rachmaninoff’s “The Bells” and “Symphonic Dances” with Rattle/Berlin. It’s terrific – he’s always done the Symphonic Dances really well.

    There was also a ‘pirate’ of the Mahler 3 he did in Berlin, which was really very, very good. I’m sure the Mahler 7 he did there was top notch as well.

    What’s really fun, is that I have a ‘pirate’ of a Mahler 6 with Rattle that has both the Berlin and Vienna Philharmonics, together! It was a concert for one of his birthdays. I think it happened about 10 years ago or so.

    • MacroV says:

      Rattle’s time in Berlin was transformational. I’m not going to claim he interprets Bruckner as well as Bloomstedt or Skrowaczewski; Mahler as well as Haitink or Abbado, Wagner as well as Barenboim, etc., but he’s peerless in modern music and has been an extraordinary institutional leader, which a lot of people seem to undervalue. DCH, educational program, collaborations with Peter Sellars, etc.. He said long ago his mandate from the orchestra was to make them “an orchestra for the 21st century.” I think he succeeded.

      • John Borstlap says:

        It is a matter of debate whether being an ‘orchestra of the 21st century’ is in itself a good thing, considering the pressures orchestras face today. If it means more contemporary repertoire, that sounds OK on paper, but as we know most of it is simply rehashed old repertoire from the postwar ideological aesthetic, so: half a century old and not from the best period in history (examples: Widmann, Eotvos, Ruzicka, Benjamin, etc.). In practice such idealism really means: turning an orchestra in an orchestra of the 2nd half of the last century.

      • Saxon Broken says:

        Macrov writes: “he’s peerless in modern music and has been an extraordinary institutional leader”

        Yes, I agree in both. And the latter really should be appreciated more. He drove the BPO’s engagement with the wider community, and that is part of why he was employed. It seems the BPO have decided to employ someone who is the complete opposite: great in the core repertoire but with little interest in public engagement.

    • M2N2K says:

      He has been a very fine conductor of Mahler for a long time now. His Seventh, when I heard Berliners play it in a live performance a couple of years ago, was simply superb.

    • operacentric says:

      I was at the Vienna performance of that joint VPO/BPO Mahler 6 – May 2005 it seems

      I will never forget the richness, depth and intensity of sound of the opening phrase of Vaughan Williams Tallas Fantasia. The Mahler was an amazing experience.

      I’d love to hear it again…

  • Petros Linardos says:

    Not free.

  • barry guerrero says:

    No thanks. I like him, but not that much. Besides, the tractor pulls are on my local channel.

  • Richard Craig says:

    I watched the latter part of it in which the BPO played a witty tribute and sang a kind of odd to Sir Simon,although I am not a particular fan of his it was a lovely farewell

  • karajanis says:

    He’s a good Mahler conductor, just like 95% of today conductors and BPO players are good Mahler Player like 95% of today orchestras…….

    I heard them a few times, he had absolutely no idea whatsoever of how directing Dvorak’ 7th (0% czech he’s so bad with national schools, and not really orchestral show neither….) but his Janacek Sinfonietta was powerful. His recording are good, but I never feel the need to listen to them twice. Too long tenure in my opinion.