It finally worked on the third attempt: this evening “With Beethoven in Arkadien” was already planned for 2020 to celebrate the composer’s 250th birthday. But Corona thwarted the idea not only in the anniversary year, but also last summer. But now the time had come: the Karajan Academy of the Berlin Philharmonic was able to arrive. For a special kind of promenade concert: for five and a half hours, music from the Viennese classic can be heard everywhere in the palace gardens – and at the very end even in the middle of Lake Grienerick.
She likes to intervene here, including on the opening weekend of the Chamber Opera Festival: the young people from the Karajan Academy have barely started with Beethoven’s Septet when the first drops fall. Against every weather forecast, which had actually predicted the best open-air concert conditions for the evening.
But the rain front, which should have already rolled over the Ruppiner Land, is taking its time, sending thunder salutes from afar while visitors listen to the opening piece from beer benches set up around the salon. This is the name of a round building open on all four sides in the center of the gardens.
Stone allegories of the four seasons stand on the lawn, the treetops initially cast nice, long afternoon shadows. It starts with the scherzo, and it rained down towards the finale. Fifteen minutes later, the trio, who asked for a serenade in the Egeria grotto, was hit hard: the water rushes not only in the water lily pond below the fountain nymph statue, but also powerfully from above. The audience perseveres just as bravely as the musicians: inside, the mosquitoes, on the other hand, give wings to meteorological injustice, they reach bloodsucking peak form.
Violin, viola and cello, plus heavenly percussion, drumbeats from the thunderstorm, drumming on the canopy of leaves – with a little good will, it becomes a new, boozy listening experience. Ludwig van Beathoven. And luckily the whole thing doesn’t last forever. In the end, it only drips from the branches, and those who have hiked on to the obelisk will be rewarded with a great view of Rheinsberg. The palace facade glows in pastel colors, excursion boats bob along on the jetties, and the evening sky spreads out above everything, in dramatic light-dark contrasts, as if a landscape painter had directed the lighting.
A cuckoo calls persistently from the forest, over there, on the other bank, sing the choristers from Vokalsystem Berlin, who later have their performance in the palace courtyard. But now it’s time for an octet cast, back in the salon. Those who stay a little further away enjoy a beautiful “Da lontano” effect, letting the melodies waft towards their ears from afar, while the eye delights in the man-made nature, in the hedges, rondels, bosquets – and the enchanted garden center with the southern English-style greenhouse and the potted plants that stand as a trellis like Friedrich’s Lange Kerls.
Horn and clarinet are instruments that work particularly well in the open air, their sound is yearning and romantic, but at the same time powerful enough to carry the audience far and wide. Of course you also have leading roles in the “Pastorale”, Beethoven’s sixth symphony, which tells of a city dweller’s trip to the provinces. The sentence designations are in German and reflect what moves the visitors of this evening: from “awakening of cheerful feelings upon arrival in the country” to gratitude after the storm.
Pierre Dumoussaud conducts the Karajan Academy with verve. His arm movements swing far and wide, and the Philharmoniker’s scholarship holders, who as trainees are being prepared by the professionals for the challenges of everyday orchestra life, but who also realize their own projects, let themselves be carried away by the French maestro. The beguiling woodwind solos and the intensity of the cello group are particularly memorable.
Excited swallows buzz around the “Pastorale” in the castle courtyard. Which the violins even answer with their trills at the beginning of the second movement – as if Beethoven had foreseen this encounter between the orchestra and the flock of birds.
After dark, a second, enthusiastically acclaimed concert follows, with the Romance for violin and orchestra as well as three choral works, before the pianist Alexander Krichel plays the moonlight sonata at 11 p.m., floating above the waters: his grand piano stands on a pontoon to which it is brought by boat, the audience listens, moved, on the bank.