Ahh, what a precious experience.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky to be able to attend one of the Berlin Philharmonic’s open rehearsals for school children here in Perth. The Berlin Phil were in Perth for 2 concerts. What a huge project this is. When you think about it, they aren’t just flying a small pop/rock group around. This is a WHOLE FRIGGIN’ SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA! Wow!
I’m wondering what sort of policies they have – surely they don’t fly the whole orchestra on one plane as a risk prevention thing?
Anyway, it was really nice to see the Berlin Phil in their casuals, doing a quick top and tails before the second concert later that day. Yes, they are just human beings! But really talented ones!
I was amazed by their sound and ensemble. We heard them rehearse sections of the Rachmaninov Symphonic Dances and Mahler’s First Symphony. These are both really challenging orchestra pieces – from an interpretation, co-ordination and technical point of view. But they seemed to play it with so much feeling, so together and so “easily”!
Every orchestra member, right to the last desk, was playing competently and was so engaged in the music. And the whole section, like all the first violins, played together as one – in intonation, phrasing, energy and ensemble-wise. I would have LOVED to sit in the middle of the section to listen around me, or even to join in – it would be an awesome experience.
And the dynamics were so extreme! Soft really was soft, and when the whole orchestra played together for a loud section, it really WAS LOUD!
But most unique was their sound. They just SOUND really good. I don’t know why. Is it the combination of 80 or so really expensive fine musical instruments combined with precision artistry? 🙂
Interestingly, but as expected, Sir Simon Rattle spoke to the orchestra in German so I didn’t understand much except for some numbers like Ein, Zwei. I was wondering how fluent he’d be – quite fluent obviously!
I would have loved to have watched the actual concert and support the orchestra. I played the Mahler 1st Symphony in my WA Youth Orchestra days so it brought back memories. But unfortunately Wifey and I couldn’t afford the huge ticket price at this time 😦
After an hour with my jaw on the floor, there were some announcements to the orchestra members in German, and then they all filed out, presumably to get changed for the concert itself. We left the Perth Concert Hall, wanting more, and totally inspired… wanting to play in a Symphony Orchestra again…
I’ve found the Berlin Philharmonic tour blog online here: http://blog.berliner-philharmoniker.de/. Looks like they had fun in Perth and hung out with WASO members too!
They have little write ups, like on their second concert here: http://blog.berliner-philharmoniker.de/second-perth-concert
And if you havne’t seen them, you can watch concerts over the internet here: http://www.berliner-philharmoniker.de/en/