Postcard from Berlin
From its underground party scene to the Berlin Philharmonic – still for many the world’s greatest orchestra – Berlin is a city that has music of every sort pulsing through its veins. Today it boasts a classical scene that features half a dozen other orchestras beyond the philharmonic (whose iconic home, the Philharmonie, dates from the early 1960s), as well as three major opera houses and several important recording venues. Its newest concert venue, the Frank Gehry-designed Pierre Boulez Saal, opened in 2017, as part of the Barenboim-Said Academy.Read more…
- Nicolai•Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor: Overture•Andantino moderato
- Graun•Overture in D minor GraunWV A:XI:2•I. —
- Graun•Overture in D minor GraunWV A:XI:2•II. Allegro
- Strauss•Feuersnot op. 50 TrV 203: Love Scene•
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•2. Ballad of Mack the Knife
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•3. Instead Of Song
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•4. Ballad of the Easy Life
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•5. Polly's Song
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•6. Pimp's Ballad (Tango Ballad)
- Weill•Little Threepenny Music, Suite from ‘The Threepenny Opera’ for Wind Orchestra (1929)•7. Cannon Song
- Eisler•Lieder aus 'Kuhle Wampe' op. 27 (1930-1931)•1. Solidaritätslied
- Hindemith•Neues vom Tage: Overture (1930)•
- Meisel•Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großtadt (Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis) (1927)•Act 5
- Weill•Nannas Lied (1939)•Meine Herren, mit siebzehn Jahren
- Schoenberg•Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene (Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene) op. 34 (1929-1930)•Drohende Gefahr - Angst - Katastrophe
- Bach•Symphony in D major Wq 183/1 (H 663)•I. Allegro di molto
- von Preussen (Frederick the Great)•Sonata for Flute and Basso continuo No. 190 in C minor “Pour Potsdam”•II. Andante e cantabile
- Meyerbeer•Ein Feldlager in Schlesien (A Camp in Silesia): 'Oh Schwester, find' ich dich!' – 'Lebe wohl, geliebte Schwester' (Therese, Vielka, Act III)•Oh Schwester, find' ich dich! – Lebe wohl, geliebte Schwester
- Weber•Der Freischütz op. 77 J. 277: Overture•Adagio - Molto vivace
- Berg•Wozzeck op. 7 (1925)•Act III • Verwandlung. Orchester-Epilog: Invention über eine Tonart
- Busoni•Berceuse élégiaque for Orchestra op. 42 BV 252a (1909)•Andantino calmo
- Boulez•Sur Incises, for 3 Pianos, 3 Harps and 3 Percussionists (1996-1998)•1. Moment I
- Beethoven•Symphony No. 9 in D minor op. 125 “Choral”•IV. Finale. Presto 'Ode to Joy'
Unlike other well-established European capitals, though, Berlin’s status is relatively young, and the earliest music on our musical tour comes from the court of Frederick the Great, who was himself a flautist and avid supporter of the arts. His ambitious plans to rebuild the capital of Prussia (as Berlin then was) included the construction of the opera house on Unten den Linden, later the site of the 1849 premiere of Otto Nicolai’s 'Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor'. Not far from that opera house – the home still of the Berliner Staatsoper – stands the Konzerthaus, which, in its earlier guise as the Schauspielhaus, saw the premiere of Weber’s 'Der Freischütz' in 1821.
Nineteenth-century Berlin was home to the Mendelssohns – Felix and Fanny produced their early works here – as well as to Giacomo Meyerbeer, who at the height of his fame split his time between Paris and the Prussian capital. But Berlin’s heyday was arguably in the first decades of the 20th century, when the big, bustling, dirty metropolis was a hotbed of the avant garde, as well as home to such artists as Richard Strauss (conductor at the Court Opera) and Ferruccio Busoni. After World War I, it became a hub of Weimar Republic creativity and sexual liberation, as well as a centre of the German film industry. Erich Kleiber conducted the premiere of Alban Berg’s ‘Wozzeck’ here in 1925, while the city also saw the first performances of works by such composers as Paul Hindemith and Kurt Weill, who, like Hanns Eisler, made a speciality of setting the words of Bertold Brecht.
This all proved tragically short-lived when, as the 1930s progressed, Berlin became centre of the fascist regime that replaced the Weimar Republic – the capital of Hitler’s dream for his Third Reich. The city is still scarred by World War II and its legacy, not least by the Berlin Wall, which forcibly separated East and West Berlin for nearly three decades. But when the wall fell in 1989, music helped to celebrate: we finish with Leonard Bernstein conducting the "Ode to Joy" from Beethoven's "Choral" Symphony at the Brandenburg Gate – a performance put on with an international orchestra to celebrate reunification.