Simon Rattle between the predictable and the astonishing
A few observations about Simon Rattle & Berliner Philarmoniker's yesterday concert. Brahms' 3rd Symphony: from the very first chord it was like being again teenager in my little room in Italy, listening at some Karajan's recording, wearing my headphones and smelling my mother dinner getting ready in the other room. Nothing essential really changed in more than 50 years... speaking about the interpretation - not about my life (!) because 50 years ago I was probably still living somewhere in other galaxies -. Hence the question: How much of the influence has a conductor in doing this kind of traditional repertory with an orchestra which has already such a great tradition in playing it? The answer, is pretty easy: not too much! Simon Rattle almost disappeared under the dark shade of his forefathers as Bülow, Furtwängler, Karajan. But after the bitter disappointment, the "great beauty": Georg Friedrich Haas 'Dark Dreams' (a new piece commissioned by the Berliner) an hypnotic rapture into the contemporary chaos, a 15 minutes of an endless glissando with some percussive reminders of death. Just after this, the conclusive 'La Mer' was a time travel, a double shock: being caught by the new XXI century sonorities was not enough! Right after this shot of newness I found myself again in the same speechless and astonishing mood, listening at the "new" timbres of Debussy, like if I were in Paris in 1905. Simon Rattle: Brahms apart, so good in giving back the astonishment to a bruxellois half-sleeping audience!