Here and there – Beethoven in Berlin

Because of recent events in footy, I am subject to an addiction to YouTube.  Before the Grand Final, I warmed up with documentaries on the Battle of Britain.  To ease the stress, I turned the commentary off the TV and flooded the room with Beethoven (until the last quarter.) 

I had recently seen and been greatly moved by a performance of the Ninth, or Choral, symphony in Berlin.  The orchestra was the Youth Orchestra of Europe conducted by Petrenko.  The performance was at the main old concert hall and beamed outside the crowd – of all ages.  The theatre came with the camera studies of the reaction of the crowd, and the performers, especially in the last movement.  The orchestra sported the colours of the European Union and at the end Petrenko conducted everyone with a version of the European Anthem, based on the Ode to Joy.  If you have a dry eye then, you have big problems.

You can also get Barenboim conducting another scratch orchestra in the new concert hall.  This features younger people not in white ties.  The comparison in styles is fascinating.  The last movement here is full of the drama of the score.  In both versions, the shots of the choir are terrific.

These are certainly productions to be seen as well as heard.  I recommend both – absolutely.  He is after all one of theirs, and it is wonderful to see them playing and enjoying him.

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