Observations from the Berlin Philharmonic

Anne and I went to see the Berlin Philharmonic this past weekend. When I saw that they were performing ‘Petrushka’ and Mahler’s Symphony No. 1 (two pieces I studied in college), the search for other anniversary destinations was over as far as I was concerned. Thankfully, Anne agreed. šŸ™‚ Of course, the orchestra played fantastic, but I marveled at some other aspects of the experience.

  • The concert was completely sold out, as apparently all of them are, but when they say sold out, they mean sold out. Every seat was filled; there were people standing in the back of the hall, and people sitting in the aisles. It was as packed as a State-side hockey playoff game.
  • It was mostly older people in the audience, but there was a significant representation of younger people, too. (They were the ones in the aisles–would you see this anywhere in the States? On a Saturday? I think not.)
  • Dress ranged from suits and formal dresses to jeans and t-shirts. The young people looked like they would hit the clubs afterward.
  • At the end of Petrushka, the crowd applauded enough to bring the conductor back to the stage three times. This was for Stravinsky.
  • All seven horns stood for the last push of the Mahler, like they were piccolo players playing ‘Stars and Stripes.’ I thought I’d never see anything that gimmicky at a classical music concert, but hey, these guys were rock stars. (No, there was no clapping along. Or mosh pits.)
  • The conductor returned for four curtain calls–the last one after the orchestra had left the stage, the house lights had come up, and half the audience was home.

So in conclusion, I have a lot of work to do. I either a) have to move to Europe, or b) work tirelessly to bring the U.S. to a point where they name streets after conductors:

dscf2945.jpg
…and have monuments erected in honor of composers:
dscf2940.jpg

(Note to my next of kin: When the sculpture of me is made, please made sure I look as heroic as Wagner here. Thanks.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *