The conductor and star guest soloist for the 2018 New Year’s Eve concert are one and the same person: Daniel Barenboim appears as pianist and also leads the Berliner Philharmoniker from the conductor’s podium. Although Barenboim has enjoyed a friendly collaboration with the orchestra for more than 50 years and is a frequent guest at concerts in the Philharmonie, this programme is something special. For the first time in 17 years, the general music director of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden will conduct a New Year’s Eve concert by the orchestra, whose distinctive sound he has known and loved since his childhood. “It has a spirit that a conductor should not touch,” he once said in an interview for the Digital Concert Hall. “When I conduct the Philharmoniker, I use completely different gestures than I usually do.” Barenboim opens the programme with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s festive, brilliant Piano Concerto in D major, K. 537. The Concerto was probably performed in Frankfurt am Main in 1790 during the celebration of the coronation of Emperor Leopold II, which later earned it the nickname “Coronation” Concerto. The work is virtuosic, playful and cheerful and thus the ideal way to start an exhilarating New Year’s Eve.
Viennese classicism, French esprit and Spanish temperament
Daniel Barenboim and the Berliner Philharmoniker continue the programme with works by Maurice Ravel, who was a great admirer of Mozart and was often inspired by his compositions. In addition to the dreamy, lyrical Pavane pour une infante défunte, works infused with the spirit of vivacious Spanish music will also be heard at the New Year’s Eve concert: the Rapsodie espagnole, the orchestral version of Alborada del gracioso and Boléro, the French composer’s most famous work, which is one long, ecstatic crescendo and prompted him to make the following witty comment: “I’ve written only one masterpiece – Boléro. Unfortunately, there’s no music in it.”
Don’t miss the concert!
Even if you don’t have a ticket for the concert and don’t live in Berlin, you can still enjoy the performance. A cinema near you will present the concert live at 5 pm on 31 December 2018. The Digital Concert Hall will broadcast the programme live beginning at 5.15 pm.