Every year during the month of May, the Berliner Philharmoniker celebrates the birthday of its own creation in 1882 with a gala concert, the Europakonzert. This year, the orchestra and its music director Sir Simon Rattle have invited one of the most sought-after mezzo sopranos of the moment, Magdalena Kožená.
The orchestra and the Czech singer know each other well and have notably recorded together works by Mozart, Mahler, Ravel and Dvořák. It is the Biblical songs by this last composer that Magdalena Kožená sings here, in her native language, in the composer's motherland.
The concert opens with Ralph Vaughan Williams's Fantasy on a theme by Thomas Tallis, a work which dates back to the beginning of the 20th century and composed in the style of the English Renaissance music. After Dvořák's melodies, the orchestra concludes this programme with Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, also called "Pastoral." A true ode to the countryside, this masterpiece showcases the ambivalence of nature – peaceful in the scene at the brook, destructive and violent when the storm bursts.
Scheduled every year in an iconic city of the European cultural life, the 23rd Europakonzert settles this time in the majestic Spanish Hall of the Prague Castle.
© Picture: Monika Rittershaus
Dennis Russell Davies, André Engel – Elena Tsallagova (The Vixen), Paul Gay (Harašta)