Happy Birthday Philharmonie

Sir Simon and his band are gearing up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their venerated hall, the Berliner Philharmonie. On Sunday, the orchestra joined by the Orchester-Akademie (conducted by Duncan Ward) and Mitsuko Uchida will play a gala concert of “space music,” which is how the online program describes the works by Berlioz, Kurtag, Beethoven, Vaughan Williams, Gabrieli and a premiere by Wolfgang Rihm that will highlight the hall’s wild acoustics. Tickets are already sold-out, but you can tune in at home on the Digital Concert Hall. For more information, see below:


Giovanni Gabrieli
N. N.

Wolfgang Rihm
IN-SCHRIFT-II Première of a work commissioned by the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation

Ralph Vaughan Williams
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis

Ludwig van Beethoven
Piano Sonata No. 14 in C sharp minor

Mitsuko Uchida Piano

György Kurtág
… quasi una fantasia … for piano and instruments dispersed in space

Orchestra Academy of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Duncan Ward Rehearsal Conductor, Mitsuko Uchida Piano

Hector Berlioz
Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale


It is well known that the nature of musical space has had, and still has, great importance for many composers of the 20th and 21st century – György Ligeti for one commented that he had always sought to “suggest space”. The Berliner Philharmoniker, conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, dedicate this gala concert celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Philharmonie to the theme of “space music”, including a new work written specifically for the occasion by Wolfgang Rihm.

As early as the 16th century, composers of the Venetian School created highly diverse “space music” based on the principle of polychoral writing, exploiting the two opposing organ galleries of San Marco, as is impressively documented by the works of Giovanni Gabrieli. Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis also creates the impression for the listener of near and distant music, with the music that seems to come from afar representing a long past chapter in music history.

Similarly shrouded sounds are provided by the first movement of Beethoven’s Sonata quasi una fantasia op. 27 No. 2, known as the Moonlight Sonata, performed by Mitsuko Uchida, while György Kurtág’s spatial composition …quasi una fantasia… played by the students of the Orchestra Academy together with the pianist, also requires spatially distributed instrument groups in addition to the piano. Hector Berlioz was yet another composer who knew how to use remote instruments skillfully and create imaginary spatial scenes. His monumental Grande Symphonie funèbre et triomphale op. 15 concludes this concert to celebrate the architect Hans Scharoun’s most significant creation.


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