BPO Concert Review!
Technology and innovation facilitated the enjoyment of music for me on April 17th, 2010 when I attended my first live concert by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, via the Digital Concert Hall. What a great idea that is: For the price of less than 10 Euros (~$13.50), I sat in front of my computer at 11 AM (8 PM Berlin time), and enjoyed a full concert, together with an interview of the conductor/pianist for the evening.
In this concert, Andras Schiff appeared on the platform as both pianist and conductor – just as Baroque and Classical composers of the day once directed their concertos from the keyboard.
The concert opened with Bach’s Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, a work which had not been performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker since the legendary performance with Glenn Gould and Herbert von Karajan in 1958. Schiff meaningfully coupled this work of Bach’s with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20, K 466, which is also in D minor. In addition, the BPO also performed the overture to Don Giovanni, and the Haydn Symphony Number 100 in G-Major. In Haydn’s “Military” Symphony, the composer succeeds in making tangible the depths and horrors of war. He achieves this by the addition to the standard orchestra several instruments such as the Cymbals and Triangle which produce a unique military effects.
Both from a visual perspective, and also form the point of view of sound and interpretation, this concert was very satisfying. Visually, there are cameras that allow the viewer to be sitting next to the pianist, and to observe the orchestra players at the exact times when they are performing important instrumental solos. The sound quality was amazing, and the convenience unique! I just paid for my ticket with a credit card, and watched. Then I could have a bowl of soup, stand up and stretch, or walk to my refrigerator, while the music continued.
The playing by the BPO and by pianist / director Schiff was outstanding. Listeners could hear the fine, sensitive phrasing; great attention to dynamics; and the wonderful balance between soloist and accompanying orchestra. Slow movements in the Bach and in the Mozart piano concerto were especially satisfying. The slow movement of the Mozart piano concerto was a moving dialog between the piano and the fine playing of the Wind section of the BPO.
I will return again to The Berlin Philharmonic’s Digital Concert Hall!