Sir Simon Rattle is now principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. But for nearly 20 years he has been at the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic. Two concerts together in London are a last chance to see how that relationship evolved through music.
The first concert (30 May) features the colossal and valedictory Bruckner Symphony No. 9, which will show off the prestigious orchestra's forces to the full. Before it comes a new work called Three Pieces by the Dutch composer much championed by Rattle, Hans Abrahamsen. There is no interval.
On 31 May, the Berlin Phil returns to the RFH with three fine pieces. The concert opens with the UK premiere of a piece by Wigmore Hall composer in resident Jörg Widmann – Tanz auf dem Vulkan (Dance on the volcano). It is followed by the translucent and atmospheric Symphony No. 3 by Lutosławski. After the interval the towering Symphony No. 1 of Brahms shows off the orchestra's distinctively German characteristics.
Brahms spent 14 years writing his first symphony. His countryman Beethoven cast a long shadow over younger composers in the making, and when Brahms finally gave the world the first of his four symphonies, references to Beethoven were there for all to hear. With its lush orchestration and melting melodies, it is one of the most loved works in the repertoire.
This final Rattle/Berlin residency is a musical landmark for London. But don't worry if you miss the great Berlin sound this time. The orchestra returns on 1 Sept to the BBC Proms, with a programme conducted by Kirill Petrenko that includes Prokofiev's delightful Piano Concerto No 3.
|What||Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Royal Festival Hall|
|Where||Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
30 May 18 – 31 May 18, 7:30 PM – 9:00 PM
|Price||£20 - £125|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|