The tour begins in London, where they will give two performances at Southbank Centre, after which they travel on to Vienna, Amsterdam, Madrid and Barcelona. Programmes include Hans Abrahamsen’s Three Pieces for Orchestra and Jörg Widmann’s Tanz auf dem Vulkan (both commissioned by the orchestra), Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9, Lutosławski’s Symphony No. 3 and Brahms Symphony No. 1.
Follow the Berliner Philharmoniker’s European tour on their blog.
The Asia Tour: memories on film
In November last year, the Berliner Philharmonikerand Sir Simon Rattle gave a tour of Asia, with performances in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Kawasaki and Tokyo, and their debut appearances in Guangzhou and Wuhan. The tour was Sir Simon’s last of the continent as Chief Conductor, and has been widely hailed a triumph.
This month’s European tour coincides with the release of recordings from the tour, now available on CD / Blu-Ray from Berlin Phil Media GmbH. The box-set includes 5 CDs recorded in Tokyo and Berlin, plus Blu-Ray video from the Hong Kong, Wuhan, and Seoul concerts, a bonus documentary, and an extensive photo section with captivating impressions of the tour.
The repertoire for the tour included Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, Brahms’ Fourth Symphony, Stravinsky’s Petrushka, Rachmaninov’s Third Symphony, Unsuk Chin’s Chorós Chordón, Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major with Korean pianist Seong-Jin Cho, and Bartók’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Chinese pianist Yuja Wang.
The tour held special importance for us at Askonas Holt, with the concerts in Tokyo marking the 25th anniversary of Harold Holt’s first tour to Japan with the Berliner Philharmoniker; a Brahms cycle conducted by Claudio Abbado, with soloists Alfred Brendel and Viktoria Mullova, in January 1992.
Tour manager Aislinn Ryan says: “It is always a great honour to work with the Berliner Philharmoniker, with whom Askonas Holt has rich history of touring. The tour to Asia in November 2017 was particularly special in that it marked Simon’s last performances as Chief Conductor of the orchestra in the region, and the first time the orchestra had visited the Chinese cities of Guangzhou and Wuhan. It was amazing to once again witness first-hand the impact that Simon and the Berliner Philharmoniker have in the region. Thousands of members of the public flocked to live relay sites around Hong Kong to watch the concerts free-of-charge on large screens, while audiences camped outside the Qintai Concert Hall in order to secure tickets to the Wuhan concert, which sold-out in just a matter of hours. Each concert drew an incredibly attentive and appreciative audience, and the tour finished on a particularly high note with two memorable concerts at Suntory Hall. As with the landmark 2005 documentary Trip to Asia – A Quest for Harmony, the Berliner Philharmoniker recordings of the 2017 Asia tour are a wonderful memento of a historic tour.”
Recordings in Tokyo took place in collaboration with Fuji TV, with TDK the crown sponsor of the concerts at Suntory Hall.
A review in The Guardian calls the recordings “astonishingly vivid”, continuing to say that “the whole set provides a very impressive showcase of the Berlin Phil’s current condition as it nears the end of Rattle’s reign.” ★★★★