My first time live with Tchaikovsky’s 6th Symphony was back in 2010, when the French conductor Yan Pascal Tortelier beautifully conducted the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra at Sala Sao Paulo, in Brazil. It was not when I first heard this masterpiece, but it was certainly that one time when I seriously connected to it in a very deep way. I was lucky enough that a CD recording was made at that very session, enabling me to revive that magical event every now and then.
Tchaikovsky considered naming his 6th Symphony “Program Symphony”, but eventually gave up this idea since he was not willing to share his motivations, what the program was all about. To me, it is enough food for thought to keep on considering its program annotation that reads “the ultimate essence of the symphony is Life”.
Oh life… all about passion, confidence and willingness to go up and beyond. Love and disappointments along the way. And then, eventually, death. In his very words, Tchaikovsky’s soul can be met at the heart of this masterpiece. And it is a soul plenty of passion, fury, melancolia and, at times, serenity.
The date was November 15th and the Charity Concert was planned to support the Berliner Music Kindergarten. Under the attentive conduction of Mr. Zubin Mehta – a longtime friend of – the piano soloist Daniel Barenboim, and the Staatskapelle Berlin completing the high level cast for the special event.
One German première for the piece “Dialogues II”, written by the american composer Mr. Elliot Carter – a clear tribute for a great man and artist that recently passed out in New York. But even more: the Piano Concerto #3 in C-minor, Opus 37, by the german Ludwig van Beethoven, and the Piano Concerto #1 in B-minor, Opus 23, by Peter Illyich Tschaikowsky. What a night!
Not a single seat left in the main concert room of the the Berliner Philharmonie. A great, silent and attentive audience ready to take off with the orchestra. Suddenly, someone initiates singing a song that is rapidly accompanied by the crowd: “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…”. That was more than a special charity concert night, that very night in fact celebrated Daniel Barenboim’s 70th birthday!
This concert was part of a couple of concerts intended to celebrate Mr. Barenboim’s birthday with his musical colleagues from a lifetime. And I have had such a premium privilege to be in Berlin, to have got tickets, and to have taken part of this remarkable night. The birthday was his but gifts were made available by himself and his music friends, not only by delivering the great concert programme but still in each and every of the 3 petit cadeaus (bis) that followed. In the best possible sense of the expression, a night to remember!