Notes from the Berliner Philharmoniker

Since a good couple of weeks, Berlin is bathing in the sun and even though the summer has not even started, people in the city seem to indulge themselves in the warm nights, long days and refreshing water of the surrounding lakes. I am touring as well: I have just returned from a couple of weeks spent in Barcelona and Galicia, where I spoke at a conference and this week I’m heavily involved in the hackdays happening at my company, as well as participating at Tech Open Air┬á– giving some talks in the forthcoming weeks.┬áThus, with so much happiness and excitement outside, it’s not a perfect season for writing these days. Well, there’s no such things as a perfect setting for writing anyway, so why not just scribble a few notes.

Upon my arrival from travels, I was expecting a great cultural thrill though: seeing Max Richter performing in the magnificent Berliner Philharmoniker. Booking tickets 6 months in advance is a reality if you want to participate, so I was anxiously looking forward to it. After all, I missed the famous performance of the ‘Sleep’ at Kraftwerk two years ago.

Richter performed ‘Infra’ and ‘Blue Notebooks’ this time, inspired by Schumann’s┬áWinterreise┬áand political happenings at the times he wrote these pieces. It sounded very profoundly, illustrated by the special lighting and the venue itself. I’ve been to the Philharmonic several times. Once, me and my friend missed an opening in the neighbouring gallery and simply bought the tickets from a nice elderly couple that were cold and thought inappropriate to participate in a concert coughing.

What is special about this place is not only the architecture, but its philosophy of accessibility, so far away from monumental and baroque design of Philharmonic, that often happens elsewhere. I am proud that I live in the city where art, culture and social participation matters so much. Berlin might be changing, even in these four years I’ve been living here, but its connection to art is special and making other live choices of leaving the city at some point so difficult. Even though my relationship with German language is still far from perfect and I am truly a ‘new Berliner’, I’ve managed to see a lot and try to understand the city much as I can, also through participation.

I love the egalitarian spirit of Berlin. In the warm summer night, I saw a very diverse crowd at the Philharmonic, connected together. Hope that this spirit prevails the hype, raising inequalities and general craziness on various levels.

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Le Sacre du Printemps

Das Fr├╝hlingsopfer – this the German title of Igor Stavinsky’s ‘The Rite of Spring’, a masterpiece which pictures best by far the uncertainty and drama of the current season. Spring as a process within human minds and the slow rebirth of the nature can be painfully difficult. It is a struggle when sometimes there is no energy left to overcome the drastic changes. There are no better words and sound notes to illustrate this moment in my life, so I’d love to dedicate this post to my dear friend I suddenly lost few days ago in tragic circumstances.

Thinking about the loss as a process of life can be helpful till certain extend to accept its dark shades and harsh moments. I give myself time to think about the value of pain, grief and irreversible flow of time and space. I question the things I take for granted. I keep the moments I happily lived with him and think about the values he appreciated the most. In search for the answers and gathering the thoughts, I find it Stravinsky’s music especially close to the state of mind I am in. Not without sense, Le Sacre du Printemps is a musical journey through the idea of the sacrifice, the reinventing the seasons and yet, the usual process that takes place each and every year.

Knowing that my friend loved theatre, art and whole range of earthly pleasures and beauty so much, I would love to dedicate him┬áDas Fr├╝hlingsopfer in this revolutionary Berliner Philharmoniker version directed by the living legend of the Kammermusik, Sir Simon Rattle. He didn’t make it to pay me a visit in my new city and I did not show him my favourite places that I promised him in my last e-mail. There is nothing else left now than appreciating the beauty of life while we are here and now in this amazing universe.

Smell the flowers while you can.