The 15 “Master Concerts” reflect the great artistic breadth of philharmonic music making. In addition to established ensembles of the orchestra such as the Philharmonia Quartet, the Philharmonic Violins, the Philharmonic String Quintet, and the Brahms and the Scharoun Ensemble Berlin, the musicians appear in a variety of chamber music ensembles, ranging from trios to chamber orchestra. In these concerts, works by composers who were active in the second half of the 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century in Vienna are the focus of the repertoire. Under the title “Life, Dreams and Death”, the Philharmonic Salon also links in to the music and poetry of the time. Another of the many highlights is the “Good Friday Music Festival” which includes performances by the Berlin Philharmonic Brass Players, the Berlin Baroque Soloists and the soprano Anna Prohaska and mezzo-soprano Isabelle Druet. The National Youth Orchestra of Germany also make a welcome return: Under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle and Karl-Heinz Steffens, former principal clarinetist of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the orchestra will perform works by Franz Schubert, Richard Strauss and Tchaikovsky.
Highlights of Classicism and Late Romanticism
La Damnation de Faust, Hector Berlioz’s dramatic legend, forms the musical counterpoint to the Rococo comedy of Rosenkavalier. The roles of Marguerite, Faust and Méphistophélès are sung by Joyce DiDonato, Charles Catronovo and Ludovic Tézier, and they are joined by the chorus of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, rehearsed by chorus master Johannes Knecht. The conductor is Sir Simon Rattle. As guest conductors for the 2015 Easter Festival, the Berliner Philharmoniker have invited Bernard Haitink and Riccardo Chailly. Haitink devotes himself to Beethoven, conducting both the Pastorale and the Violin Concerto with Isabelle Faust as the soloist. As the violinist said in an interview, the Beethoven concerto is an ideal work for her Stradivarius, known as the “Sleeping Beauty”: “The very bright Beethoven sound also suits me very well: it is compatible with my nature and my emotions.” Riccardo Chailly, who conducts Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s Overture to Ruy Blas and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, also appears alongside a magnificent soloist: Igor Levit, who replaces Martha Argerich and plays Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto.
A combination of grand symphonic and intimate chamber music, plus famous musical guests and soloists from the orchestra's own ranks, make the Berliner Philharmoniker's concerts in Baden-Baden very special indeed.