Friday 7 December 2007

Berlin Philharmonics: Music in the Third Reich and Dvorak´s Requiem

Poster from a National-Socialist exhibition 1938. From

Dvorak: Requiem. Berlin Philharmonics, Luisotti (c). Soloists: Harteros, Surguladze, Sabbatini, Prestia. Berlin December 6th, Philharmonie.

Entitled "The suspect saxophone" (link here)- the foyer of the Berliner Philharmonie shows an interesting exhibition of music in the Third Reich. While those with particular interest in the subject will find nothing new here, all these photographs of Richard Strauss and Furtwängler with high-ranking Nazi officials still make for an after-thought..Obviously Richard Wagner is quite well represented too (with his anti-semitic essays from the 1850´s), together with Winifried Wagner and her (suggested?) relationship with Hitler. And Houston Stewart Chamberlain, husband of Wagner´s daughter Eva and a fierce Anti-semitic himself.

The main reason I was here, however was for the Dvôrak Requiem: The Berlin Philharmonics conducted by Luisotti with soloists Harteros/Surguladze/Sabbatini/Prestia. In a simply brilliant performance by this orchestra, which definitely still is among the very best (despite malicious rumours to the contrary): Just listen to the marvellous woodwind soli (Emmanuelle Pahud is playing the solo-flute), the perfectly intonated brass, the soft and yet precise strings. All cleverly balanced by conductor Luisotti. Combined with the superb acoustics of the Philharmonie it made for a memorable performance.

The soloists were curiously all placed behind the orchestra on the left side, which would have been fine had I had a seat on the right side of the auditorium...As it was, half of the auditorium (including myself) could not see them, a decision I find more than slightly odd. They did however deliver a fine collective performance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear that Luisotti was good, given that we'll be hearing a lot of him soon enough.

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