The concert of the Berlin Philharmonic on Sunday, August 31st, concluded the Salzburg Festival 2008 – and it concluded it in style. Simon Rattle presented his band with Wagner’s Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan & Isolde followed by Olivier Messiaen massive Tristan-inspired spectacle of color and sound, the Turangalîla Symphony for Solo Piano, ondes Martinot, and large orchestra.
Love was the theme, in either case, and there was plenty love in the Berliner’s playing: Absolute evenness in the continuous build-up of the Tristan Prelude was achieved with tension and volume being increased at such a minimal gradient and with such consistency that it wasn’t noticeable — only felt. This was perfection in conceptualization and execution, scarcely doable with but a handful of orchestras.
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Salzburg Concluded: Rattle’s Messiaen Tribute with the Berlin Philharmonic