Concerts with Martha Argerich are always a special event. This is especially true for this guest appearance, with which the pianist returns to play with the Berliner Philharmoniker after 18 years. She will perform Schumann’s lyrical piano concerto, a symbol of romantic music. In addition, conductor Riccardo Chailly will present Rachmaninoff’s Third Symphony, which in a manner of speaking reflects the romantic era from the Russian perspective.
Ruy Blas Overture
Piano Concerto in A minor
Martha Argerich Piano
Symphony No. 3 in A minor
Martha Argerich and Riccardo Chailly have been linked with the Berliner Philharmoniker by long artistic friendships. For them to perform at the orchestra’s concerts jointly, however, is something of a rarity. Only twice, namely in 1983 and 1989, did the Berlin audience have the opportunity to experience the two of them on stage. Both times they performed Sergei Prokofiev’s Third Piano Concerto, in which they – as attested by the press – “made music in one spirit”. This time they have decided to take on Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto in A minor. This work constitutes an alternative to the brilliant virtuoso concerti popular at the time. With it, the composer tried to bring about “something between a symphony, concerto and large sonata”. Thus he created something completely new for the time: a concerto in which piano and orchestra coalesce into one indivisible unity.
The evening will begin with the overture that Felix Mendelssohn composed in 1839 for the Leipzig premiere of Victor Hugo’s play Ruy Blas. Though Mendelssohn found the play “abominable” and “disgraceful”, he created rousing music full of poetry. The third piece on the programme is Sergei Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, considered the most radical and modern of his three symphonies. In earlier philharmonic concerts, the Italian Riccardo Chailly has time and again shown himself to be a specialist in the Russian repertoire. This is the first time he will conduct one of Rachmaninov’s symphonic works with the Berlin Philharmonic.