Rattle’s 16-year Berlin Philharmonic tenure ends with emotional farewell concert

Posted on: June 22, 2018

“Simon Rattle bowed out as the chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic this week, in an emotional farewell concert in the German capital,” writes Martin Kettle in Thursday’s (6/21) Guardian (U.K.). “In his last performance in Berlin’s Philharmonie Hall before returning to the UK to take over at the helm of the London Symphony Orchestra … Rattle received the kind of loud cheering, standing ovation and bouquets of flowers from admirers that used to be reserved for opera divas. The conductor’s final concert with the Berlin orchestra consisted of a single work, Gustav Mahler’s searing and fateful Sixth Symphony…. A clearly moved Rattle made a short speech in German, addressed to ‘my wonderful orchestra’ and ‘my dear Berlin public’, thanking them for their support…. During the conductor’s long stay in Berlin, Rattle seems to have won over doubters with his enthusiasm, his emphasis on modern repertoire, his involvement in educational work and his encouragement of new programming…. The Berlin Philharmonic’s house magazine contains a cartoon of a curly-haired man conducting from the stern of a ship named Britannia as it puts to sea with his orchestra on the quayside still following his baton. ‘Bye bye Sir Simon’ says the caption.”

Posted June 22, 2018

Pictured: Simon Rattle acknowledges applause at his farewell concert this week as chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Photo by Annette Riedl