This summer there was only one concert I really wanted to go to. Mahler’s 1st Symphony performed by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Simon Rattle. My Dad and I queued for 5 hours at the BBC Proms to get in for £5 each – bargain. It was the most popular concert after the Last Night of the Proms.
What struck me was how Rattle led and empowered the orchestra. His leadership was partially directive, but in the main was coaxing and shaping this extraordinary gifted group of musicians, making minute tweaks here and there in a quest for perfection. Rattle really gets how conducting is all about empowering the talent in front of you. And what talent he has in front of him – the players are astonishingly good – no question. Being a horn player I was spellbound by the tone of Stefan Dohr, who must surely be the best horn player alive today, if not one of the greatest of all time.
Check this video out of the BPO playing Mahler 5 with Rattle. Note how expressive Rattle is – it is as if he is saying to his team – listen – hear that – that is what we are aiming for. The joy in his face is evident. This joy lifts and inspires his team. I think there are learns in here for any business leader – do you express your joy and satisfaction; how does your team know when they are making the right sound; that the performance is on the mark; are they inspired by the expression on your face?
But I also love the majestic horn playing in this too!
I was so inspired by hearing the Berlin Phil playing Mahler that I have been very fortunate enough to procure some tickets to their next Mahler concert in London in February 2011. It was sold out in December 2009! Can’t wait.