Kirill Petrenko

I have just been listening to a recording on Radio 3 of the second movement of Beethoven’s mighty Seventh Symphony by Krill Petrenko, the current chief conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. Nothing special that I can find.

Petrenko (not to be confused with the one in Liverpool) seems to have made an extraordinarily bad career move in only releasing recordings on the Berlin Philharmonic’s own label , and this Beethoven LP retails on Amazon at a mere £390!!

This is utter madness, surely, when punters can track down a new LP of Carlos Kleiber’s startlingly good DGG Vienna Philharmonic account for £30 or so!

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Petrenko is an opera fish out of water, so to speak.

A completely baffling choice by the BPO. That’s two terrible choices in a row.

Then again, we could have been lumbered with Thielemann I suppose…


Please No. Herr Frankly-Worse-Than-Most was dreadful enough a couple of weeks ago!

And Kleiber wasn’t?

He may have been an opera fish but didn’t seem to be out of place elsewhere, it appears ! Maybe we can call him amphibious… :grinning:

But then again, even he wasn’t promoted to the dizzy height of principle conductor of the BPO.

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I assume that you haven’t heard Carlos Kleiber’s recordings of symphonic works of Beethoven, Schubert or Brahms.

(Otherwise I can’t imagine that you would ask. )

But then, K do think that Petrenko is an excellent conductor of the BPO. I’ve seen and listened to most of his performances on Digital Concert Hall and I think they are great. It’s a depart from the Rattle era for sure.


My suggestion is to listen to them both in full. They are available on Spotify, Qobuz etc.

Kleiber seems to think it is party time in part 3 whilst Petrenko leaves a bit to wish for so that the emphasis is more on part 4.

Both are phantastic performances. Kleiber performance was the first time I liked Beethoven. That’s only a few years back and I’m in my 40’s now.

If you mean Carlos Kleiber, he is - infamously - the only person known to have turned down the orchestra’s offer to become principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic. The orchestra then went to his friend Claudio Abbado after CK had declined the offer.

Goodness, even the wildly eccentric Celibidache accepted the offer to be chief conductor in Berlin in the interregnum after the Second World War.

To me, it’s hardly surprising that CK turned down the BPO. His intensive levels of rehearsal and performance made enormous demands on him and his players. I doubt he would have lasted six months in the role had he accepted - sad though it is. One wonders: complete Beethoven, Brahms cycles perhaps? As CK aged, he was less able to keep up his exceptionally high standards. All very sad - undoubtedly one of the greatest conductors ever. It’s our loss that he recorded and performed so little but it is understandable.

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I saw Celibidache live in concert in the
Early 60s. He got a great sound out of the
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

I don’t agree with much of that at all. Sometimes Kleiber demanded extensive rehearsal. On other occasions (including the time that I saw him, when he stood in at very short notice for Bœhm), he had almost no time at all.

Karajan (with whom he had a fairly close friendship) observed, only half-jokingly, that Kleiber only went out to work when his freezer was empty and he needed to buy food.

And, if you watched his two New Year’s Day concerts in Vienna in 1989 and 1992 (on the latter occasion he stood in at very short notice for Leonard Bernstein), you will have seen for yourself that there was no falling off in his powers.

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Standing in for someone else is an entirely different kettle of fish compared to being a principal conductor which bears the responsibility to keep the relations OK and further develop a choir / orchestra. That primary responsibility is the issue.

CK’s two Vienna New Year’s Day concerts were both superb. He was still at the peak of his powers for each of those wonderful concerts. I wasn’t aware that his second one should have been Bernstein and was taken on with short notice.

I had thought his LSO concert, though taken to replace Böhm, was preceded by a couple of days of intensive rehearsals, though I’m happy to be corrected on that point.

I was aware of the quote that he only conducted when his freezer was empty!

After Karajan’s death, it was reported that Karajan’s widow visited her late husband’s grave on one occasion to find Kleiber there paying his respects. Each had enormous admiration for the other.

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Thanks, Chris, interesting remarks.

I don’t think that there could have been much rehearsal time for the LSO concert in London, as Bœhm had pulled out of the Italian concert (wherever it took place) just a few days previously, and then they would have had to get themselves and all their gear from Italy to London.

Anyway, that’s not terribly important. It was, for me (whatever the music critics thought) an extraordinary experience, and I would have loved the chance to see them perform together many times over.

Let’s try to route again the thread in-topic… :relaxed:
I have a good opinion of K. Petrenko even though partial, the BP digital hall alone cannot give the right measure of his value…
I hard the chance to see KP live, with Mozart’s Haffner and Tchaikovsky’s 6th…
It’s a vigorous way of conducting the orchestra, a romantic approach, so to say.
Haffner’s Symphony was very ‘funny’, if I May, quit fast and sparkling, maybe not and academic version but nice.
With Tchaikovsky’s 6th he has been great, for me it’s a remarkable reading of this lovely work.
Bold, romantic,lot of pathos.
It’s been issued by BP and I strongly suggest to try to listen to It.


Is this the one that costs £390 that I mentioned above? For that sort of price, I’d expect a few members of the orchestra to turn up and play a chamber version of the piece in my home.

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No Graham, I paid around 40€ a couple of years ago. A remarkable edition Indeed…

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I’ve seen that concert and it was very good. A joyful, sparkling and unorthodox Mozart and a true Russian Tchaikovsky.

I still regret not buying the LP.


Yes, we saw the same concerto :grin: you summarized very well :+1:

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