Every First of May, the Berliner Philharmoniker honors its founding with the Europakonzert. Marking their 125th anniversary, the year 2007 was particularly festive: under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, the orchestra celebrated with a concert themed "The Year 1882" at Berlin's Oberspree Power and Cable Plant (Kraftwerk und Kabelwerk Oberspree)—one of the city's most impressive historical industrial constructions of the 19th century.
The 2007 Europakonzert's program highlighted works by Wagner and Brahms dating from the orchestra's early years. The first piece on the program, the prelude to Wagner's opera Parsifal, was premiered at the Bayreuth Festival in 1882, the year of the orchestra's founding. A highly symbolic work for the orchestra, its importance was further heightened when, in September of 1913 under the direction of Alfred Hertz, the piece became the first recording it ever made. Next on the program came two of Brahms' most beautiful compositions: his Double Concerto for Vioiln, Cello and Orchestra, and his Fourth Symphony. Brahms' close ties to the history of the Berliner Philharmoniker makes his work a fitting centerpiece for this concert's program: beginning in 1884, he appeared with the orchestra as both soloist and conductor. Here, the two young virtuosos Lisa Batiashvili and Truls Mørk took on the parts of the solo violin and solo cello.
Lucerne Festival 2013