Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (BRSO) is based in Munich . It is the largest of the three orchestras of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation . The main venues for the orchestra are the Herkulessaal of the Munich Residence and the Philharmonie am Gasteig .
The main program of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is the symphonic music of the Viennese classical period , the romantic period and the new music . The orchestra presents its program in concerts, but the orchestra is also regularly used for radio and CD productions of operas , often together with the Bavarian Radio Choir . The BRSO is one of the best orchestras in Germany and also enjoys the highest international reputation. In 2006, a committee of editors-in-chief of leading European music magazines selected it as the sixth place among all European orchestras. In 2008, the British trade magazine Gramophone voted it the sixth place of all orchestras in the world after a survey of music critics. The fact that the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was the only radio orchestra to be among the 20 best orchestras in the world is ultimately due to the international reputation of its chief conductors. Seen in this way, the success story of the orchestra is inextricably linked with the names of its previous chief conductors, starting with Eugen Jochum , through Rafael Kubelík , Kirill Kondraschin , Sir Colin Davis , Lorin Maazel to Mariss Jansons .
The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which was officially founded in 1949, by no means came out of nowhere. Predecessors were several orchestras and music groups of the Munich radio station, whose origins go back to 1922. In the pioneering days of broadcasting, there were only limited recording and playback options. Concerts were therefore mostly broadcast live. The broadcasting company in Bavaria, founded in 1924 under the name “German Hour in Bavaria”, therefore needed several orchestras to meet the demand. The “Great Radio Orchestra of the German Hour in Bavaria”, whose first symphony concert was broadcast in August 1924, is best comparable to today's BR Symphony Orchestra. In addition, the station established other ensembles in those years, such as the radio choir, a dance band, a radio trio and Funkschrammeln. In 1930 the “Small Radio Orchestra ” was added, a kind of forerunner of today's Munich Radio Orchestra .
Orchestra of the Reichsender 1933
The transmitter, which was converted into "Bayerischer Rundfunk GmbH" in 1931, became "Reichssender München" in 1933. Like all other cultural institutions, the National Socialists also put the “Orchester des Reichssenders München” into their service. As the SA and SS bands with military music increasingly dominated the prime time, only the late evening hours were left for the symphonic music of the radio orchestra. Works by composers such as Werner Egk, Carl Orff , Hans Pfitzner and Josef Suder were preferred . Even Richard Strauss conducted at this time. In the anniversary volume "50 Years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra" Renate Ulm writes :
Richard Strauss was one of the most important composers who recorded their own works on tape with the then 78 musicians orchestra of the Reichsender München: On October 31, 1940 - presumably at a studio concert that was usual at the time - excerpts from the Rosenkavalier , the citizen as nobleman , Arabella , "From Italy" recorded. "
New beginning 1945
After the capitulation, politically unaffected musicians who had previously played in the orchestra of the Reichsender München came together in 1945. Initially, light music was in the foreground, performed under the direction of the conductor Werner Schmidt-Boelcke , whose main focus was operetta and light entertainment music.
In January 1946 the broadcaster engaged Kurt Graunke as a freelance orchestra conductor. In 1948, a year before the symphony orchestra was founded, the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation , which had meanwhile been established under public law , offered Eugen Jochum the opportunity to set up an orchestra according to his own ideas.
The Eugen Jochum era
The official founding date of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is July 1st, 1949. On this day Eugen Jochum took up his position as chief conductor of the orchestra. In the previous three years, however, Jochum occasionally conducted the ensemble of “Radio Munich”, which had been under construction since 1946. During this time he led the orchestra's performances together with the choir, which was also being created, including works by Bach , Monteverdi , as well as masses and Bruckner's Te Deum .
Eugen Jochum's unusually strong position is demonstrated by a passage in the founding contract of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra from 1949. It says:
“He is authorized to take whatever measures he deems necessary for the development and upbringing of the orchestra. The engagement of permanent conductors, guest conductors and musicians for this orchestra is carried out exclusively by Professor Jochum in agreement with the artistic director. "
Jochum used this leeway and built an orchestra entirely according to his own ideas. In the run-up to the founding, he brought top musicians from all over the world, and members of the Koeckert and Freund Quartet occupied the first desks of the newly formed orchestra. Together with the orchestral musicians who were originally more focused on light music, an oversized ensemble with a very heterogeneous quality had grown up by the beginning of 1949. In May 1949, Jochum divided the orchestra into the A-orchestra, which played the so-called "serious music", and the B-orchestra, which was responsible for the popular music.
From the beginning, Jochum attached great importance to the fact that the orchestra not only could be heard on the radio, but also presented itself in public concerts. Through his international tours he established the orchestra's high reputation worldwide. Musically, Eugen Jochum excelled with his interpretations of Anton Bruckner's symphonies and the works of the “Viennese Classic”. A great concern for him was the cultivation of sacred music, but also new music.
In the era of Eugen Jochum, legendary performances of contemporary works took place in the context of musica viva, founded in 1945 by Karl Amadeus Hartmann . Most of the time, the composers themselves stood at the podium, including Igor Stravinsky , Darius Milhaud , Paul Hindemith , and Pierre Boulez .
So there were three essential elements that were decisive for the formation and successful development of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra: On the one hand, a core of professional musicians who had played in the previous ensembles of the radio station. On the other hand, with Eugen Jochum, a conductor and music manager with a high international reputation, who knew how to bring top musicians into the orchestra and to inspire them. And thirdly, leading people from a radio station, who generously provided the ensemble of the newly established Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation with everything they needed from the start.
The Rafael Kubelík era
After Eugen Jochum came Rafael Kubelík, who of all conductors was the longest head of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Kubelík, born on June 29, 1914 in Býchory near Kolín near Prague , directed the orchestra for 18 years and stayed with it as a guest conductor until 1985. Kubelík brought great international experience to Munich. In 1946 he founded the “ Prague Spring ” festival . He opened the festival with Smetana's “My Fatherland”. Since then, the “Prague Spring” has opened every year with this plant. Before he came to Munich, Kubelík obtained his conducting merits with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam, among others , and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra selected him as Music Director. Until 1958 he was musical director of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London.
The Kubelík era was shaped by performances that were extolled in the media. “Pure luck with Kubelík” was the headline of Joachim Kaiser on November 14, 1966 in the Süddeutsche Zeitung after a concert with Beethoven's IV Symphony, Robert Schumann's Violin Concerto and Antonín Dvořák's VIII Symphony. In his review, Joachim Kaiser wrote: "If this Rafael Kubelík has a good evening, if he conducts works that suit him - then there is nothing in the world of concerts today that can match this." The Bavarian Symphony Orchestra was under his direction According to the FAZ, broadcasting to a "smoothly acting, sonorous and technically sovereign ensemble". Kubelík attached great importance to the works of Slavic composers such as Smetana , Janáček and Dvořák . He conducted works by composers of the 20th century such as Karl Amadeus Hartmann . Under Kubelík, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was the first German orchestra to record a cycle of symphonies by Gustav Mahler, who was ostracized during the Nazi era . In addition, Kubelík's broad repertoire ranged from Bach and Mozart to Beethoven, Schubert, Wagner and Brahms to Reger , Pfitzner , Bartók , Debussy and Schönberg .
In his role as head of what is probably the most staffed department in Bavarian Broadcasting, Kubelík did not shy away from interfering in broadcasting policy. When a new Bavarian Broadcasting Act was to be passed in the Bavarian State Parliament in 1972 , which provided for greater state influence on public broadcasting, Kubelík protested against it. He threatened not to renew his contract if the law were to become a reality. The law was reformulated and Kubelík remained chief conductor.
When Rafael Kubelík withdrew from the direction of the symphony orchestra for health reasons in 1979, the orchestra favored the then 65-year-old Kirill Kondraschin as Kubelík's successor. Kondrashin shone with the orchestra with Shostakovich's 13th Symphony, which he had premiered 18 years earlier in Moscow. The continuation of the Mahler tradition of the orchestra developed by Jochum and Kubelik was particularly important to Kondrashin. With Kondraschin, the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation wanted to position its symphony orchestra more on Bavarian television . But the plans fell apart when Kyrill Kondrashin died of a heart attack on March 7, 1981, before he took office.
The Colin Davis era
It took four years for Bayerischer Rundfunk to close the gap that had arisen after Kubélik's official departure and Kondraschin's sudden death. The orchestra's preferred candidate, Sir Colin Davis, took up his post as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1983. Before that, in January 1983, he won over the people of Munich with a performance of the monumental opera oratorio Oedipus Rex by Igor Stravinsky. The Süddeutsche Zeitung wrote on January 29, 1983: "It was one of those concert events that set the mind and intellect in motion alike."
Colin Davis officially started Beethoven's “Missa solemnis” as the orchestra's chief conductor. In the Süddeutsche, Joachim Kaiser expressed his enthusiasm for this debut: "I don't remember - despite Karajan, Bernstein, Heger, Klemperer, Richter and many others - ever hearing the Missa solemnis more emphatically."
It was above all the “Viennese Classic” and the music of English composers, especially Edward Elgar , Michael Tippett and Ralph Vaughan Williams , that Colin Davis tried to bring closer to the public during his first years in Munich. He was committed to the works of Berlioz and Sibelius , which were not so well known in Europe at the time. The BR Symphony Orchestra under Colin Davis consolidated its international Rennomé with extensive tours through the USA and Japan. After nine years at the helm of the orchestra, Colin Davis once again added a final accent to his work as chief conductor of the BRSO with an acclaimed performance of Beethoven's “Missa solemnis”.
The Lorin Maazel era
Lorin Maazel, who had been conducting the BR Symphony Orchestra on a regular basis since 1990, took over as chief conductor in 1993 at the age of 63. However, he had been in close contact with the orchestra for a very long time. He led the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra for the first time in 1957, when he was almost 27 years old. In 1938 Lorin Maazel conducted an orchestra in public for the first time and appeared as a violin child prodigy. In 1940 he was at the podium of the New York Philharmonic . Before joining Bayerischer Rundfunk, Maazel was head of the Vienna State Opera , music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra , and he often conducted world-class orchestras such as the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra London and the London Symphony Orchestra .
As chief conductor of the BRSO, Lorin Maazel attached great importance to the highest technical precision and, as the BR puts it on its homepage, raised "the orchestra to a new level of musical perfection and brilliance". Maazel set programmatic accents in Munich's musical life with large compositional cycles. His performances of symphonic works by Beethoven (1995 and 2000), Brahms (1998), Strauss (1998), Bruckner (1999) and Schubert (2001) were particularly well received. Maazel ended his engagement as chief conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in 2002 with a Mahler cycle.
The era of Mariss Janson
From 2003 to 2019, Mariss Jansons was chief conductor of the symphony orchestra and the Bavarian Radio Choir. The son of the conductor Arvīds Jansons , who was born in Riga in Latvia in 1943 and grew up in the Soviet Union, studied violin, viola and piano. He completed his conducting training at the Leningrad Conservatory, where he was assistant to the legendary Evgeny Mawrinsky, with distinction. He then completed his training in Vienna with Hans Swarowsky and in Salzburg with Herbert von Karajan . Further stations were Oslo and Pittsburgh. From 2004 to 2016, Jansons was also chief conductor of the Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest in Amsterdam. Jansons says of the different sound profiles of the two orchestras:
“As a starting point, you can perhaps say that Bayern have a German sound - fuller and darker. Amsterdammers are perhaps more refined and see-through, they have finer colors. But when I work on the finer points in Munich, the orchestra follows. And when I work on emotionality, spontaneity and temperament in Amsterdam, I get that too. "
As chief conductor, Mariss Jansons was able to record great successes with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra at numerous concerts in Germany and abroad. During their first joint tour through Japan and China, the conductor and orchestra received the award "Best concerts of the season" from the Japanese press. The trade press noted that Jansons had managed to open up the sound of the BR Symphoniker in a short time: "The people of Munich can not only sound dark, earthy and full, but also slim, lucid and clear". Jansons himself says of his orchestra:
“The Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra is not only brilliant - it has no weaknesses. The musicians are incredibly enthusiastic and spontaneous, they play every concert as if it were their last. They give everything, more than 100 percent. For me as a conductor, it's like driving a Rolls-Royce. This orchestra can do everything. "
The performances of the Requien by Verdi, Mozart and Dvořák are further milestones in Janson's collaboration with the ensembles of the Bavarian Radio. from Stravinsky 's Psalm Symphony , Poulenc's Stabat Mater and Leonard Bernstein's Chichester Psalms . In the Karajan commemorative year 2008, the Karajan student Jansons performed Johannes Brahms ' German Requiem , one of Karajan's favorite works, which was celebrated by the press as an outstanding sound event.
In 2018, Jansons extended his contract with Bayerischer Rundfunk as chief conductor of the orchestra for the fifth time until 2024. In the last year of his work, Jansons expanded the repertoire in the direction of less well-known works by French impressionists and contemporary music.
Since taking office as chief conductor of the BR Symphony Orchestra in 2003, Jansons has been committed to building a new concert hall with its own hall for his orchestra. He negotiated with three prime ministers and several ministers of education, was often put off and disappointed, but did not give up. In 2016 the Bavarian State Government decided to build a concert hall in the east of Munich, in the so-called Werksviertel.
- 1949–1960: Eugen Jochum
- 1961–1979: Rafael Kubelík
- (designated): Kirill Kondrashin
- 1983-1992: Sir Colin Davis
- 1993-2003: Lorin Maazel
- 2003-2019: Mariss Jansons
From the beginning until today, the BR Symphony Orchestra has dedicated itself to the performance of contemporary works. The composers themselves often stood at the orchestra's podium, for example Igor Stravinsky, Darius Milhaud , Paul Hindemith , Pierre Boulez and, more recently, Leonard Bernstein , Hans Werner Henze , Karlheinz Stockhausen , Mauricio Kagel , Luciano Berio and Peter Eötvös . The symphony orchestra has been shaped in the past by many well-known guest conductors such as Clemens Krauss , Erich Kleiber , Carlos Kleiber , Ferenc Fricsay , Otto Klemperer , Karl Böhm , Günter Wand , Sir Georg Solti , Carlo Maria Giulini , Kurt Sanderling and Wolfgang Sawallisch . One of the guest conductors who always enjoyed coming to Munich and who worked for many years with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra was Leonard Bernstein. His recording of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde in January 1981 is still considered an outstanding interpretation to this day. Leonard Bernstein conducted the last concert before his death with the choir and symphony orchestra of the BR in the Stiftsbasilika Waldsassen Mozart's C minor Mass . For several years now, the orchestra has placed great emphasis on the interpretation of early music and has worked with conductors such as Thomas Hengelbrock , Nikolaus Harnoncourt , Ton Koopman and Franz Welser-Möst .
Important world premieres
- Boris Blacher : Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 1 (1948)
- Hans-Jürgen von Bose : 1st Symphony (1978)
- Gottfried von Eine : Dance Rondo (1959)
- Anders Eliasson : 4th Symphony (Eliasson) (Christoph Poppen) (2007)
- Cristóbal Halffter : Piano Concerto (1988)
- Karl Amadeus Hartmann : 3rd and 6th symphonies (1950/1953); Symphonic Hymns (1975)
- Yun I-sang : Clarinet Concerto (1982)
- Gija Kantscheli : Dixi for mixed choir and orchestra (2009)
- Wilhelm Killmayer : Four symphonic poems (1981)
- Rodion Konstantinowitsch Schtschedrin : Beethoven's Heiligenstädter Testament (2008)
- Ernst Krenek : The Magic Mirror (1967)
- Carl Orff : De temporum fine comoedia (new version, 1980); The Tower's Resurrection and Dancing Fauns (1995)
- Arvo Pärt : Passio Domini nostri Jesu Christi secundum Joannem / Johannespassion (1982)
- Einojuhani Rautavaara : 2nd piano concerto (1989)
- Wolfgang Rihm : Tutguri (1984); sphere (1994), Requiem stanzas (2017)
- Karlheinz Stockhausen : Michaelion / Presidium - Luzikamel - Operator (1998)
- Carlos Veerhoff : 3rd Piano Concerto (Gerhard Oppitz) (2009)
- Jörg Widmann : Con brio concert overture for orchestra (2008)
- Iannis Xenakis : Pithoprakta (1957); Pièce 000 (1980); Ais (1981)
In 2006 the orchestra received the Grammy in the category Best Orchestra Performance for its recording of the 13th Symphony by Dmitri Shostakovich . Information on the recordings on CD and DVD that have been awarded the Grammy and the ECHO Klassik, as well as the titles of the best list of the German Record Critics' list, can be found in the media library of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra.
CD publications (selection)
- Dmitri Schostakowitsch : 13th Symphony - Mariss Jansons (EMI), this production was awarded a Grammy .
- Anton Bruckner : Symphony No. 7 - Mariss Jansons (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the ECHO Klassik in 2010 .
- Gustav Mahler : Symphony No. 9 - Bernard Haitink (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the ECHO Klassik and the “Dobbiaco Composing House” in 2013 .
- Benjamin Britten : War Requiem - Emily Magee , Mark Padmore, Christian Gerhaher , Mariss Jansons (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the Diapason d'or .
- Ludwig van Beethoven : The Symphonies and Reflections - Mariss Jansons (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the Choc de Classica.
- Antonín Dvořák : Symphony No. 9 - Andris Nelsons (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the German Record Critics' Prize.
- Hector Berlioz : Symphonie fantastique - Mariss Jansons (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the Diapason d'or 5 Star.
- Sergei Wassiljewitsch Rachmaninow : The Bells and Symphonic Dances - Mariss Jansons and the Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BR-KLASSIK), this production was awarded the Diapason d'or and the British magazine Gramophone as recording of the month April 2018.
- Vienna Philharmonic Named Europe's Finest Orchestra ( Memento from January 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
- magazine selects four German orchestras among the best in the world. Die Welt, November 19, 2008, accessed March 14, 2015 .
- Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. (No longer available online.) Kölner Stadtanzeiger, February 16, 2016, archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; Retrieved March 3, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm , Andreas Mangold et alii: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 23 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 28 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold et alii: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 29-30 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 29 .
- History of the BRSO Orchestra. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on February 20, 2016 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 30 .
- History of the BRSO, 1961–1979: Rafael Kubelík. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on February 21, 2016 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 107-113 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 108 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold et alii: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 157-160 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold et alii: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 171 .
- 1983-1992: Sir Colin Davis. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on February 22, 2016 .
- Karl Schumann, Renate Ulm, Andreas Mangold a. a .: 1949 - 1999/50 years of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra . Ed .: Renate Ulm for Bayerischer Rundfunk. Bärenreiter-Verlag, Karl Vötterle GmbH & Co.KG, Kassel 1999, ISBN 3-7618-1395-3 , p. 201-206 .
- 1993 - 2002: Lorin Maazel. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on February 22, 2016 .
- Mariss Jansons in portrait. KLASSIK COM, accessed March 5, 2016 .
- INTERPRETERS - Mariss Jansons: "I love my orchestra". FONOFORUM Klassik, February 16, 2016, accessed on March 5, 2016 .
- INTERPRETERS - Mariss Jansons: "I love my orchestra". FONOFORUM Klassik, February 16, 2016, accessed on March 5, 2016 .
- Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. (No longer available online.) Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger, February 26, 2016, archived from the original on March 4, 2016 ; Retrieved March 5, 2016 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- BR chief conductor Jansons on the concert hall: "This is a fantastic gift". Süddeutsche Zeitung, December 10, 2015, accessed on March 5, 2016 .
- History of BRSO Orchestra. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on April 26, 2016 .
- CDs and DVDs in the BRSO media library. Bayerischer Rundfunk, accessed on January 21, 2017 .