Before the champagne corks popped to celebrate the turn of the year 2016/2017, the audience could experience first-class virtuosic piano playing when Daniil Trifonov stepped up to the podium at the New Year’s Eve concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker. The concert opens with a sparkling comedy overture by the Soviet composer Dmitri Kabalevsky. Since winning the Moscow Tchaikovsky Competition in 2011, the 25-year old musician Trifonov, born like his pianist colleague Igor Levit, four years older, in Nizhny Novgorod (formerly Gorky), has been rated not only one of the technically most formidable but also one of the musically most interesting pianists of the younger generation. After a CD release of his debut in New York’s Carnegie Hall, acclaimed by both critics and the audience, in 2015 Trifonov recorded his interpretations of some of the most challenging works of variations by Sergei Rachmaninov, together with an homage he himself composed to the composer and virtuoso he so admires – and the critics were singing from the treetops (“Hats off to this Rachmaninov!”), sighing (“Do stay a while, moment in sound, you are so beautiful!”) and gushing (“A highly cultivated virtuoso with limitless technical possibilities”).
At his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic, Trifonov also plays a composition by Rachmaninov: the Third Piano Concerto, which many interpreters of the work consider the most difficult piano concerto of all times. The composition is anything but stingy with lyrical passages that give at least the audience time to come up for air before marvelling at the next round of pianistic brilliance. The second part of the New Year’s Eve programme ends with some of the most dashing Slavonic Dances by Antonín Dvořák. Prior to that you can hear excerpts from William Walton’s Façade, which premiered in 1923 – a literary and musical hybrid whose impertinently defiant subtle wit, despite all nonsense, can hardly be better described than with the words “very British”. That the work, which was designated by its authors (the texts are by Edith Sitwell) as “entertainment”, could not be performed by anyone more ingeniously than by Simon Rattle, is obvious. Since “to entertain” means both to invite and to amuse, in just these ways Sir Simon and the Berlin Philharmonic welcome you to their New Year’s Eve concert 2016.
31 Dec 2016
New Year’s Eve Concert
SIR SIMON RATTLE
Colas Breugnon, op. 90: Overture (5 min.)
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 3 in D minor, op. 30 (54 min.)
Daniil Trifonov Piano
Façade: Orchestral pieces, arranged in form of a suite by Sir Simon Rattle (11 min.)
Slavonic Dances, op. 72: Selection (10 min.)
The Comedians: Comedians’ Galop (2 min.)
Hungarian Dance No. 1 in G minor (6 min.)
Sir Simon Rattle on the 2016 New Year’s Concert (2 min.)
Daniil Trifonov in conversation with Sarah Willis (13 min.)