Katia and Marielle Labèque with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Available in the Digital Concert Hall

Katia and Marielle Labeque
Digital Concert Hall

A French night

Watch here

To end the 2004/05 concert season the Berliner Philharmoniker gave their traditional open-air concert at the city’s Waldbühne. Conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, the varied programme was made up of works by French composers. And in order to ensure the greatest possible authenticity, the orchestra had invited the sisters Katia and Marielle Labèque to join them.

The Labèques are without doubt one of the finest piano duos of our time and began by demonstrating their prowess in Poulenc’s demanding Concerto for Two Pianos, following this up with a hugely enjoyable series of musical character studies in the form of Saint-Saëns’s Carnival of the Animals, providing much amusement for the audience in the completely sold-out Waldbühne. Orchestra, conductor and soloists were perfectly matched as a team. It is no accident that Rattle and the sisters have known one another for decades.

According to the critic of the Berliner Morgenpost, this support from two native French speakers also helped to ensure that the other pieces on the programme were performed “in a thoroughly idiomatic manner, with effervescent wit and sensuous charm”. To accompany Ravel’s Boléro, the 33,000 spectators lit sparklers, and following the very last encore – Paul Linke’s Berlin Air, in which the orchestra’s principal conductor as usual played the bass drum – this evening of French music, performed against a backdrop of balmy summer weather, ended with what the Morgenpost described as “cheering, fun and a fairground atmosphere – fantastique!”

This concert is now available for viewing in the archive of the Digital Concert Hall
Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle Conductor
Katia & Marielle Labèque Piano
Hector Berlioz: Le Carnaval romain op. 9
Claude Debussy: Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Paul Dukas: L’Apprenti sorcier (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
Francis Poulenc: Concerto for 2 Pianos and Orchestra in D minor
Camille Saint-Saëns: Le Carnaval des animaux (The Carnival of the Animals)
Maurice Ravel: Boléro
Erik Satie: Gymnopédie Nr. 1
Maurice Ravel: Danse générale from Daphnis et Chloé
Paul Linke: Berliner Luft

Recording from 26 Jun 2005 from the Waldbühne, Berlin