Concert

Berliner Philharmoniker II

Kirill Petrenko, conductor
Xenakis IV | Zimmermann | Dallapiccola

Expressive works of post-war modernism are the focus of this concert by the Berlin Philharmonic under Principal Conductor Kirill Petrenko. Alongside Iannis Xenakis’s “Empreintes”, the programme features a concert performance of Luigi Dallapiccola’s opera “Il prigioniero”, which was composed immediately after the Second World War, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s apocalyptic “Sinfonie in einem Satz” for orchestra from 1952/53.

A stone staircase from above

Dizzying perspective from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, 1958

© cineclassico / Alamy Stock Photo

Work introduction 50 minutes before the start of each concert

“The listener must be gripped and […] absorbed by the flightpaths of the sounds without needing to be trained specially. The shock to his senses must be as striking as […] looking into a bottomless pit.” These are the words of Iannis Xenakis, whose orchestral piece “Empreintes” includes ancient fanfares resounding over fluctuating string surfaces. The Berlin Philharmonic and its Principal Conductor Kirill Petrenko have chosen to begin the evening with Xenakis’s noise-like and at times pulsating sonic sculpture. Next comes Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s “Symphony in One Movement”, which – “shaken by the apocalyptic storm” – was written after the Second World War: “in a time of collapse […], that seemed unlike any other” (Zimmermann). The programme then continues with a concert performance of Luigi Dallapiccola’s opera “Il prigioniero”. Based on Auguste de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s story “La torture par l’espérance” (Torture Through Hope), it tells of a prisoner of the Spanish inquisition who is condemned to death but manages to escape. His joy, rising to ecstasy, at his unhoped-for freedom is short-lived, however, as the Grand Inquisitor re-captures him and leads him to the stake: hope has turned out to be the most extreme form of torture. The opera ends in the darkest disillusionment, with hollow drum rolls and echoing blows on the tam tam – and as a result it appeals even more profoundly in real life for the freedom and humanity that is denied on stage.

Concert Programme

Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001)
Empreintes
for orchestra (1975)

Bernd Alois Zimmermann (1918 – 1970)
Sinfonie in einem Satz
for orchestra (1952/53)

Luigi Dallapiccola (1904 – 1975)
Il prigioniero
Opera in one prologue and one act (1949)
Concert performance

Cast

Wolfgang Koch baritone
Ekaterina Semenchuk soprano
Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke tenor
Caspar Singh tenor
Oliver Boyd baritone

Rundfunkchor Berlin
Gijs Leenaars chorus director

Berliner Philharmoniker
Kirill Petrenko conductor

A Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation event in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin