Rumours are raging again that Sir Simon Rattle will be named music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in succession to the late Mariss Jansons.
The orchestra’s management says there will be no statement on the vacancy before the new year, but it is widely suggested that Rattle has been offered the post and is weighing his options.
If he accepted the Munich offer, it would mean the end of his present job at the London Symphony Orchestra.
Doing nothing to dampen the rumours, Rattle has given this interview today to BR about maestros past and present:
BR-KLASSIK : When you think of Mariss Jansons, what do you miss most?
Sir Simon Rattle : When I think back to Mariss performances, I see the extraordinary pieces and composers, and then I keep realizing that Mariss found a way to disappear into the music. And by that I don’t mean that you couldn’t feel a personality – it was more like you could hear the character of the composer yourself. Mariss Jansons really served music. And the ego that every conductor has, dissolved in it.
BR-KLASSIK : Do you have an example of this?
Sir Simon Rattle : I remember a concert in Berlin where he conducted Brahms’ Second Symphony. After the first sentence I tapped his wonderful wife on the shoulder and say: “Irina, that was simply perfect.” And I don’t know if I’ve ever heard anything that I can say, without exception, was perfect. So maybe I miss this self-surrender and humility the most.
BR-KLASSIK : If you stand in front of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra yourself – have you ever thought: If he could watch me now, what would he do?
Sir Simon Rattle : No, luckily I didn’t have moments like that. But of course a chief conductor leaves his fingerprint on the orchestra. It was the same with Rafael Kubelik, who can still be felt. But they miss Mariss Jansons very much in Munich, which is hardly surprising, because it was really a symbiotic relationship.
BR-KLASSIK : How can you hear these fingerprints of the former conductors?
Sir Simon Rattle : Kubelik combined humanity and character in an extraordinary way, which you can still feel in the orchestra today. He formed the body of sound with his personality. What Mariss leaves behind is his incredible feeling for refinement and the unconditional focus on the beauty of a round sound. You can feel that in every moment, which is very moving. Then when I conduct the orchestra I can feel how my friend is among us.