New perspectives on classic works

“Close-up”: Kurt Weills Berliner Symphonie

Close-up is a new outreach format with the Berliner Philharmoniker and chief conductor Kirill Petrenko developed in spring 2021 for young people and young adults. A first film, based on Kurt Weill’s Berliner Symphonie, provides exciting insights into the composer’s life and work. This symphony contains much of the spirit of optimism which followed the First World War, of the turmoil and the desire for peace. The film shows how conductor and orchestra go on a voyage of discovery to the Berlin of the early twenties.

In the process, it opens up a wide variety of perspectives. There is captivating rehearsal work, in which Kirill Petrenko gives the musicians a better understanding of the contemporary historical background and of his interpretative ideas. Furthermore, it includes conversations with, among others, the cultural historian and researcher into emotions Ute Frevert, as well as young people with their own experiences. There are also excerpts from the concert performance. A visual translation of the symphony’s complex score was created by a musician and a high school graduate in a team and with the programme Music:Eyes – another element for better understanding.

The format shows in a tangible way how different realities relate to, complement and influence each other. This new offer with and for teenagers and young adults is intended as a further contribution by the Berliner Philharmoniker and its chief conductor Kirill Petrenko to providing fresh access to classical music in the digital world.

The next Close-up films will focus on Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet and Iolanta, and Stavinsky’s Firebird.