Pelléas et Mélisande at Unter den Linden
Tannhäuser at Unter den Linden

Orchester-Akademie der Berliner Philharmoniker

Orchesterakademie* Notes *
On Thursday I went to hear the Orchestra Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic play in the Kammermusiksaal. The evening began with Schubert's "Rosamunde," String Quartet No. 13 in A Minor. It was all quite nice, just not too exciting. The musicians did not seem to have much rapport. They certainly seemed a bit nervous, the first violin occasionally overwhelmed the second violin and especially the viola. It was rather difficult for me to follow the line of the viola, at times I could not tell if she was playing or not. Even still, it was clear that the young musicians were all quite talented. My favorite movement of the piece was the third, the Menuetto, as I am fond of dances. However, I am still not partial to Schubert.

The second half of the performance was Mozart's Serenade for Winds No. 10 in B Flat Major, the so-called "Gran Partita." The work is scored for 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 basset horns, 2 bassoons, 4 horns and string bass, and this is exactly what we saw and heard on stage. The piece was more lively than the Schubert, and they played it straightforwardly. The instruments were together, but sometimes the balance of sound was off, the clarinets were somewhat loud, for instance. The musicians were in tune, and the fifth movement was especially good, the bassoons played well.

* Tattling *
The audience was badly behaved, there were a few mobile phone rings, whispering, and leaving in the middle of the music. However, the ovation was spirited and the ensuing encore was amusing. I believe they played Johannes Brahms' Wiegenlied: Guten Abend, gute Nacht, Op. 49, No. 4, and musicians left the stage either in pairs or one by one until only the bassist was alone.

I had forgotten that the erstwhile General Director of San Francisco Opera, Pamela Rosenberg, was the Intendantin at the Berlin Philharmonic, and was surprised to see her name on the program. I think it is quite possible I would have turned out rather differently if not exposed to her short reign at SFO, it was during that time I started writing about opera in earnest, after all. The very next morning I read that Rosenberg was leaving when her contract expires in 2010. She is not going to another position, which I am sure evokes feelings of Schadenfreude for those who loathed her so in the Bay Area.