“The soul of a poet, the mind of a thinker, the hands of a virtuoso,” was how an American critic succinctly and accurately described the qualities of Murray Perahia. As the Berliner Philharmoniker’s Pianist in Residence for the 2011/2012 season, he appeared regularly in solo and chamber concerts in Berlin. An outstanding event of this partnership was Perahia’s guest appearance at this orchestral concert in which he performed Robert Schumann’s Piano Concerto together with Sir Simon Rattle.
Perahia’s rank as one of the great poets among the pianists of our time is impressively revealed in this work, where melodic playing, gentle story-telling and Romantic rhapsodising are in the foreground, rather than the traditional contrast of clearly contoured themes. Schumann’s Nachtlied for choir and orchestra inhabits a similar world of expression – and in contrast to the popular piano concerto, this piece is a real discovery, full of drama and transcendency.
The concert’s more recent works also have a nocturnal hue. E vó und O King by Luciano Berio are subdued laments; in the first piece, a lullaby is sung to a murdered child, and in the latter, Berio mourns the assassination of Martin Luther King. The concert closes with Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem. Infused with delicate melancholy, it culminates in a sunny vision of paradise – and the promise that even the darkest night is always followed by the dawn.
14 Apr 2012
SIR SIMON RATTLE
MURRAY PERAHIA, KATE ROYAL, CHRISTIAN GERHAHER, RUNDFUNKCHOR BERLIN
E vó for soprano and instruments (6 min.)
Barbara Kind Soprano
Nachtlied, op. 108 (9 min.)
Rundfunkchor Berlin, Simon Halsey Chorus Master
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra in A minor, op. 54 (35 min.)
Murray Perahia Piano
O King for mezzo-soprano and five players (6 min.)
Kate Royal Soprano
Messe de Requiem in D minor, op. 48 (1900 version) (41 min.)
Kate Royal Soprano, Christian Gerhaher Baritone, Rundfunkchor Berlin, Simon Halsey Chorus Master
Murray Perahia on his thoughts and feelings about music (17 min.)