Simon Rattle renews through 2018 with Berlin Philharmonic
So much for all the periodic nay-saying: Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic will remain hitched through 2018. The British conductor, who took the helm of the famed orchestra in 2002, signed a new contract Wednesday, the AP reports.
His tenure has had its share of criticism, but it appears that Rattle has retained the support of the players, who have veto power over their music director. Reports have surfaced over the years that Rattle was in trouble with the orchestra, mostly because of his adventuresome programming, and in danger of being voted out. Some critics, especially in the German press, have carped that the Philharmonic has lost some of its luster with this conductor.
But none of that seems to have stuck. Besides, I think everyone agrees that Rattle has done wonders in the area of educational and community outreach with the Philharmonic (including on tour), and that's exceptionally valuable. There's obviously a lot of potential left in the relationship between one of the world's most gifted conductors and one of the world most sensational orchestras.
To salute the new contract, here's a taste of Rattle and the Philharmonic in action. First, the conclusion of "Brigg Fair: An English Rhapsody" by Frederick Delius -- a composer, I suspect, the Berliners had little or no experience with until Rattle arrived. (We could use more exposure to Delius around here, too, but that's another story.) And then, as a reminder that Rattle and his ensemble can make beautiful German music together, too, the sublime "Liebestod" from Wagner's "Tristan und Isolde":