In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker dedicated an evening of their renowned Easter Festival in Baden-Baden to one of the most famous and beloved of German composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Together with Bernard Haitink, a universally acclaimed authority on the works of that composer, they performed Beethoven’s exquisite expression of nature, his Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral”. They were joined for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by Isabelle Faust, whose interpretation of the work has enjoyed widespread acclaim.
Five Piano Concertos and the Piano Sonata No. 32, opus 111, recorded in stereo in 1962 and 1964, respectively, by Wilhelm Kempff [1895-1991] and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferdinand Leitner [1912-96]. The sonata, the composer’s last, is certainly more than a mere filler, from the opening hesitancy of the ‘Allegro con brio ed appassionato’ to the extended closing section of the second movement.
The founding of the Berliner Philharmoniker on the first of May in 1882, is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. For this newly released EUROPAKONZERT Blu-ray Disc all recordings were lovingly restored and converted to High Definition video. The Berliner Philharmoniker are joined for Mozart’s Motet and Mass on this recording by Christine Schäfer, whose unique timbre and performing style has more than once been likened to those of other vocal greats such as Irmgard Seefried and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This round of exceptional musicians is completed by Emanuel Ax, winner the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, as the soloist for the works of Chopin and Schumann.
As before with the St. Matthew Passion, star director Peter Sellars succeeded in creating a staging which made the spiritual and dramatic content of the Passion story even more intensive. The New York Times also praised the “brilliant and energetic” playing of the orchestra, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung the “haunting, almost unsurpassable singing of all those involved.”
Sir Simon Rattle was in no doubt: the performance of the St. Matthew Passion which he realized together with the Berlin Philharmonic and the Rundfunkchor Berlin in 2010 was for him “the single most important thing we ever did here.” Critics around the world agreed. They praised the semi-staged “ritualization” by American star-director Peter Sellars, as well as the outstanding musical performances by the soloists, including Magdalena Kozená, Christian Gerhaher, Thomas Quasthoff, and Mark Padmore as the Evangelist.
New Year’s Eve Concert 1996 – Dances and Gypsy Tunes The fascinating Russian virtuoso violinist, Maxim Vengerov (winner of the Echo Klassik) lends radiance to the gala performance under the baton of Claudio Abbado. Johannes Brahms’Hungarian Dances and Gipsy Songs; Maurice Ravel’s Tzigane and La Valse and Hector Berlioz’s Hungarian March make this New Year’s Eve with the Berliner Philharmoniker unforgettable. New Year’s Eve Concert 1997 – A Tribute to Carmen The program of the Berlin Philharmonic bore the title «Dances of Life, Love, and Death», and it was hardly coincidental that it was meant as an homage to Carmen. The recording of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra’s traditional New Year’s Eve Concert, conducted by Claudio Abbado, offers not only a cross section of worldfamous melodies from George Bizet’s opera, but also famous dance music that was intensely or subtly influenced by it. With: Anne Sofie von Otter, Bryn Terfel, Roberto Alagna, Gil Shaham, Mikhail Pletnev. New Year’s Eve Concert 1998 – Songs of Love and Desire Love was the theme of the 1998 New Year’s Eve Concert. And who wrote better music about love than Mozart and Verdi? Maestro Claudio Abbado has chosen two of the best Mozart interpreters, Christine Schäfer and Simon Keenlyside, for this traditionally meaningful event. Marcelo Álvarez from Argentina interprets highlights of the tenor repertoire, and Italian Primadonna Mirella Freni tops the occasion with a breathtaking performance of the Letter Scene of Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin.
The Waldebuhne in Berlin is one of the most appealing outdoor amphitheaters on the European continent, and is home to the Berlin Philharmonic's summer concerts. With audiences of more than 20,000 these are some of the most popular classical music concerts in the world.