It is too late. Those who don’t know suspect it: the earth as we knew it is lost. Our oh-so-smart, oh-so-comfortable mind has so damaged the natural balance that everything is tipping over. Violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, currently Artist in Residence with the Berlin Philharmonic, has been busy for years.

She doesn’t just want to “make music” while outside, climate change and species extinction are changing the planet forever. Now she has given a harrowing, hot-blooded, sad, stirring concert in the chamber music hall with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra: “Les Adieux” – the farewells.

As is well known, this is the nickname of a piano sonata by Beethoven, which is not heard here. Instead, the work that captures the majesty of nature like no other – and the sensations it triggers when looking at it. A nature that hardly exists the way Beethoven must have experienced it at the gates of Vienna: the 6th symphony, the Pastorale.

The podium covered with black leaves, Kopatchinskaya barefoot because of the connection to earth? You can hear pure Beethoven, but with a gentle, intelligent approach. Here an unusually long rubato, there an elongated repetition of the same motif. No deconstruction, more a reinterpretation, an opening to the present. Birds fall to the ground on monitors, while the horns imitate the sounds of blackbirds and nightingales.

It’s not straight forward, the music is completely respected. Chainsaws screech, trees fall in the Amazon. Does humanity still have a future if it produces figures like Jair Bolsonaro? During the thunderstorm in the fourth movement, the world is on fire, forest fires, every summer. An orangutan clings to an excavator, it’s unbearable.

With Beethoven, the storm is gone, the lovely melodies are returning. But there is no reason to be confident, therefore: demolition. The funeral march from the “Eroica” follows directly. An endless array of extinct or threatened species roam: insects, sea creatures, large land mammals.

Almost 40 musicians on the podium, the relative narrowness makes the music seem even more immediate, almost bruitish. The evening comes to an end with Schumann, Shostakovich and Nono, finally a soloist (Abraham Cupeiro) passes by with an antique wind horn, a carnyx. It sounds like an alarm siren.