Sir Simon Rattle is one of the greatest musicians of our time: a dynamic, impartial and innovative perfectionist. After transforming the once-mediocre City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra into a world-class ensemble, he took the helm of the Berlin Philharmonic. Although the Hungarian audience has already had several chances to see him, what makes this visit interesting is the fact that, after a decade and a half, he will not be conducting Herbert von Karajan's former orchestra on this occasion.
Since September 2017, Sir Simon Rattle has led the London Symphony Orchestra. Founded in 1904, the ensemble has for many decades been considered one of the world's leading orchestras, beyond its position in the British capital. The concert programme with which the newly coupled conductor and orchestra will be performing for the Hungarian audience for the first time together was put together in the spirit of the sharp contrasts that have become prevalent in concert programming these days. For Béla Bartók and Anton Bruckner were truly worlds apart. While Bartók was characterised by relentless conciseness, Bruckner was epic in scale and favoured 'magic repeats'. With its own four-movement symphonic form and strongly contrapuntal compositional structure, Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta in part continues the Viennese classical tradition and, also in part, that of the Baroque era. His Symphony No. 6, on the other hand - while admittedly also a four-movement work - is wedded through and through to the Romantic system of gestures and manner of expression. The two pieces are thus suited to displaying both the conductor's and the orchestra's wide-ranging virtues as each work is played, one after another.