Rattle rumours run riot

Rattle rumours run riot


norman lebrecht

January 11, 2021

This website reported six months ago that Sir Simon Rattle had been offered the music directorship of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and was thinking it over.

This weekend, two newspapers – Austrian and German – reported that the move was a done deal.

This morning, the Times of London, whose music critic acts as a mouthpiece for the London Symphony Orchestra where Rattle has been music director for the past three years, presents the move as a foregone conclusion.

It says the move ‘news will be a shock to the British orchestral world’ – which is nonsense since everyone has been expecting it – and tries to save some face for the LSO by pinning Rattle’s decision on London’s stalling on building a new hall – something that was never going to happen.

An announcement from Munich is expected this week, possibly today.

When it comes, we’ll consider the ramifications.

UPDATE: Breaking: Rattle extends with London while signing for Munich




  • sam says:

    It’d be a Brexit out of Britain instead of out of the EU, a singularly unpatriotic move by a Briton for whom the country did so much to enable, promote, advance his national and, ultimately, international career.

    His knighthood and citizenship ought to be stripped.

  • Mark (London) says:

    Bye bye. Don’t drop the baton on the way out ..you won’t be missed

  • Rogerio says:

    My sources tell me that if Rattle leaves, the LSO WILL construct the new concert hall, just to piss Rattle off.

  • John Groves says:

    Great news! I hope he likes Munich’s ghastly concert hall!

    • Novagerio says:

      As far as I know he is still a german resident.
      He will start in 2023, and by then he might already have left the LSO.
      PS: The Herkules Saal is one of the best halls in Europe, he doens’t need the Gasteig.
      Where’s the fire people?

  • Lulu says:

    There’s already a press release, they’re trying to spin it as he’s staying…

  • fflambeau says:

    He would also be getting out of the U.K. and becoming a real forceful persona in the most important country in the EU. That also is likely a reason and perhaps the main one.

  • The Ghost of Karlos Cleiber says:

    It’s already on the LSO’s website that he’s staying until 2023 when he takes up the appointment in Munich…

  • Eduardo says:

    I believe he is a hypocrite and a mediocre conductor who made the Berliners sound even harder than usual. He will not be missed. I don’t even think of him as one of the greats, Gardner, Elder are far superior musicians and are not in the public eye. So there. If adulation is what he wants he will get plenty in Munich, but after Munich where to go? Beijing?…….. mmmmmmmmmmm

    • MacroV says:

      Yet the Berlin Philharmonic kept him around for 16 years and now the BRSO – who many consider an even better orchestra – desperately want him. But what do they know?

    • Tomas says:

      I don’t know how long the adulation will last in Munich, though the concert public is more adventurous than Berlin and may start off liking his programming – they’re used to wonderful, provocative things at the State Opera and the BRSO also invests in some of that (the Philharmoniker to so much).
      But I do think Rattle is a mediocre director of string sections – even the Berlin strings too-often sounded thin and scratchy, though Petrenko has fixed that very quickly. In the end Rattle is still having a wonderful career and did great things at Birmingham… but in the core repertoire I just don’t see it, frankly.

      • Peter San Diego says:

        You raise an interesting general topic. What leads a conductor to extract a thin, scratchy sound from the strings? Presumably the conductor influences phrasing, dynamics and degree of vibrato (the last, to some extent) — but isn’t the concertmaster responsible for the overall tone quality (within the constraints of the personnel and instruments in the orchestra)?

        Exactly how did Ormandy (for instance) extract particularly lush, rich string sound in Philadelphia, while Rattle (allegedly) got the BPO strings to sound scratchy? And how does a Petrenko quickly fix the sound, working with the same personnel and instruments?

        I may not be the only visitor to the site who is ignorant on the matter; and even if I am, I’d appreciate elucidation.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Absolutely true, Eduardo.