13 November 2019

Berliner Philharmoniker: Eötvös, Xenakis, and Varèse

I can't believe that it took me seven years to actually attend a performance of the Berliner Philharmoniker. And I must say, it is definitely one of the world's top orchestras. The sound was just stunning, gripping, and one that keeps you to the edge of your seat.

The third and final concert I had attended in this year's Musikfest Berlin featured Peter Eötvös's Alhambra, Concert for Violin and Orchestra; Iannis Xenakis's Shaar for large String Orchestra; and Edgard Varèse's Ameriques. The final piece was actually not new to me, as I have listened to it back in New York City, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic was in town and was performing in the Lincoln Centre.

The program was an orchestral crescendo of sorts: the first piece was rather quiet, and I must say not my most favourite. The second piece was very gripping, and since I am a fan of Xenakis, this was definitely a delight to listen to. It was just a string orchestra, but it made it sound like a very massive percussive instrument. And finally, Ameriques was definitely fun, given the massive percussion section that this piece demands.

The Berliner Philharmoniker was definitely in its form that night. The sounds were crisp, and the performances were all well executed. I must say I made it a point to see if there are any other concerts that I would be interested in watching with this group.

All in all I loved this year's festival program. I look forward to the offerings next year, where I am sure I would find something that would interest me.

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