Reviews  |  

Berlin Philharmonic

“Klaus Mäkelä’s Sixth by Shostakovich sounds haunting from the first bar of the opening Largo, gripping, intense … All shades of gray are filtered out, the music develops a surprising singularity, an inner glow, awakens associations with nature. The beauty of soulful sound, Klaus Mäkelä seems to want to say, cannot be erased by any regime in the world: because thoughts remain free. Then the Finn celebrates the two fast movements with mischievous fun with the grotesque, pushes them to the point of film music – and at the same time unfolds a stunning tonal sensuality with the unreservedly committed Philharmoniker.”

“After the break, Mäkelä’s approach to Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” is also amazing: because it sounds like ballet music, graceful, agile, fragrant. There is not a shadow of melancholy over the score, the main theme of the first movement floating in like a prima ballerina. This reading is provocative, diametrically opposed to the harrowing interpretation with which Kirill Petrenko made his debut as Philharmoniker chief conductor in 2017. But also in a pleasantly carefree way.”

Der Tagesspiegel, Fredrik Hanssen, 21 April 2023

“In Tchaikovsky’s “Pathétique” Mäkelä finds some striking new phrasing – he takes back the ornamented repetition of the four-note main motif, as if this ornament were not intensification but disguise. He varies the repetitions of the secondary theme, which floats somewhat unfamiliarly above the first movement, by carefully treating secondary voices – but here, too, the lyrical power is dismantled, so to speak. “

“Mäkelä’s intention to be able to hear everything is also evident in the relatively slow march, in which the sparkling triplets become easy-to-follow counterpoints. In the lament finale, the many collapses become indistinguishable, as if one climax were like the other. This conflict between tonally tense Espressivo and its spell through control makes Mäkelä an interesting interpreter.”

Berliner Zeitung, Peter Uhlig, 21 April 2023

“Anyone who remembers Kirill Petrenko’s intense, detailed interpretation from March 2017 should be astonished: At that time, the Philharmonic played as if for their lives. Back then, they literally fell at the feet of their conductor. And today? Today they let Mäkelä run mercilessly. They invest just enough to show that they are actually a top orchestra: in selected solo passages, in a few favorite tutti passages. But the overall impression remains unsatisfactory. No coherent musical development, no moments of goosebumps, no urgency. The majority of the audience seems to have perceived it differently. Long applause for Mäkelä and the Philharmoniker. And a standing ovation at the very end.”

Berliner Morgenpost, Felix Stephan, 21 April 2023

“Klaus Mäkelä is no longer a newcomer … Do his performances live up to the hype or is the young star overrated? So far I haven’t been able to have a say, but now I’ve seen the much sought-after artist make his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic and I have to admit: he really is a great artist!”

“That I’m missing some dimensions in Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique – for free. Melancholy and longing, as they are expressed above all in the well-known main theme of the first movement, can probably not be measured in such a short life as someone who is three times as old knows about disappointments and deprivations … In short: the indulgence, the immersion and bathing in slightly indulgent, sweet worlds of sound that I experience with Muti or Thielemann is not yet Mäkelä’s thing. The fact that this symphony runs the risk of slipping into the kitschy if the pathetic that gives it its name is applied too heavily may play a role here. But Mäkelä doesn’t have to worry, the music would take a little more pressure on his tear ducts, as he tends to the other extreme: with extremely sparing vibrato in the violins, played tightly, the wonderful main theme sounded almost tart.”

Klassik Begeistert, Kirsten Liese, 21 April 2023

Dmitri Shostakovich: Symphony No. 6
Pyotr Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 6 “Pathétique”