Monday, November 22, 2010


(all pics from Berlin Philharmonic Travelling Blog)

In searching for what the Berlin Philharmonic would be doing at home next year (we've seen/heard them many times over four years at the Festival Aix-en-Provence, and once in Berlin but not - yet - at their home, the acoustically revered Philharmonie), I found that an embryonic trip could be engineered to include Rattle conducting Berg and Mahler, the Three Pieces again, but this time Mahler 6. Yes, please. But most fun of all, I found that there has been a travelling blog running on the orchestra's trip down under.

It is well worth scrolling through, for their experiences in both Perth and Sydney, local fauna (zoo and concert hall), performance, hotels, weather, education, workshops, young musicians, helicopter flights down the east coast to the best view of Sydney, as a bird .... and " many in the orchestra beginning to ask why anyone who could live in Australia would ever choose to live anywhere else". To which one could add why would any Australians (especially musicians) choose to live in Berlin. I'd love twelve months in Berlin. But what about the children?.

I wish now I'd booked the last night in Sydney, speeches and all that. Sir Simon Rattle had this to say:

Well, what can I say, except that it's really very puzzling. Everybody is under this desperate misapprehension that we're going. Whatever makes you think that? All I would say to all of our incredibly kind Australian hosts is, look really carefully in your spare rooms and your attics, because the noises you hear are members of the Berlin Philharmonic who have jumped ship. We have been so wonderfully looked after. It has been so generous in every way around here. And I must say we have a reputation for being quite a wild orchestra, and I think we've met our match in your audience. It's either thrilling or really scary, I'm not sure which. We look forward to coming back. Ladies and gentlemen, it's very simple. We've loved this. It's changed our lives. Anyone who comes to this country is not quite the same again. We'll carry it in our hearts. And we've made a new family here and we treasure it. Thank you.

And in Perth:

I would like to thank all of you. When we walked on stage yesterday and we felt the welcome and the support of the audience, we all thought, oh my God, we'd better play well! There aren't many audiences like this in the world, and you could feel what a difference it makes to the performance, as well - this kind of support. We have had a welcome here from this theatre, from Andrew and Rodney, these visionaries who are running it, and all the people here, that we can only dream of. And everybody keeps saying, have a great time on the rest of the tour. I simply don't understand why you think that any of us are leaving.

There's going to be a plane journey tomorrow, and there's going to be a really severe head-count, because I think we could have lost a good proportion of the orchestra here. We are so impressed with what is going on here. We've always heard that Perth was really a centre for the arts. At a certain time I have to tell you that Perth was the only place that was really definitely on for us - it was Perth who was willing to say yes, we'll take these crazy programmes when this place - I think it's called Sydney? - was beginning to wobble a bit. They have been behind us absolutely from the start. They have treated us like princes. We were so happy to be here, we've left a large part of our heart here. The idea to send this programme out to all the ends of this gigantic state, the size of Europe with a smaller population than Birmingham, that's how I think of it - is a visionary thing. And it's something that is so important for us, it is something that we are trying to do at home, I hope you are very proud of it. We've had a wonderful time. Simply: Bless you. We've lost our hearts, and we look forward to coming back, if indeed we ever go.

From their blog I was moved on to The Arts Desk, where lo and behold there is a review of the just released 'Nutcracker'.

If you missed Program 1 in Sydney, here's the encore - the Pas de Deux from The Nutcracker, starting at 4.30.

Christmas is coming. Or have we just had it?

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