Column “The Classic” (Episode 18): Kirill and Dmitri

Many roads lead to the Berlin Philharmonic. Of course, the royal road will always remain the live concert experience – and contrary to popular prejudice, a visit to this world-class orchestra is quite affordable, because ticket prices often start at 21 euros.

Another path to the Philharmonic leads via the Digital Concert Hall. This internet concert hall is of course intended more for people who live far away from Berlin – but even as a resident of the capital you can decide to follow the orchestra’s performances on the screen, be it in real time or as a retrieval from the extensive archive. A weekly subscription is available for EUR 9.90.

Concerts under Corona conditions

As a third way of showing off their art, the Philharmoniker operate their own label, on which they release projects that are close to their hearts – in elegantly designed CD boxes. Like now the symphonies numbers 8, 9 and 10 by Dmitri Shostakovich, which they recorded in October 2020 and in autumn 2021 with their chief conductor Kirill Petrenko.

“During the time when we were only able to make music under very limited conditions, Shostakovich’s music touched me like never before,” Petrenko writes in the program booklet. Due to the corona, one recording was made in the empty hall, the other two with a chessboard cast in the audience.

Petrenko in conversation with musicians

The three symphonies were written between 1943 and 1953 – and the Philharmoniker’s chief conductor comments from the current point of view: “Everything that Shostakovich expressed so clearly in these symphonies and what we thought we had overcome, we are stunned to experience for ourselves today.”

Anyone who wants to find out more about Petrenko’s relationship with the composer can call up the conversations he had with orchestra members on the three concert projects free of charge in the Digital Concert Hall: This is about both biographical and analytical aspects, with the conductor explaining them with eloquence and seriousness substance of Shostakovich’s music – and explains why it is of timeless expressiveness.

If you prefer to experience Kirill Petrenko and the Philharmonic live, you have to be patient, because all April dates are sold out. But there are still tickets for the joint concerts in June.

The “Klassiker” column appears on Thursdays and reports on Berlin’s musical life.

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Source: Tagesspiegel

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