More from the opening of the Elbphilharmonie | Music | DW | 27.01.2017
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More from the opening of the Elbphilharmonie

First everybody was talking about how much it cost. Then about how it looks. Now about how it sounds. Listen to more of the opening concert of Hamburg's Elbphilharmonie this hour. 

The daring glass design with its sweeping curved wave-form ceiling puts the Elbphilharmonie on par with other iconic structures like the Sydney Opera or the Eiffel Tower. Just developing the 1,100 glass windows took over a year, all done according to principles of acoustical engineering, of course. The glass exterior affords a spectacular view of the city of Hamburg from the lofty heights of the hall. 

The glittering new concert hall fulfills - and even exceeds - the high expectations placed in the acoustics, with thundering fortissimos, winds lush and warm, and strings very clear. At the opening concert, Hamburg's Mayor Olaf Scholz remarked, "You can really say the beauty has awakened." 

The Elbphilharmonie took seven years longer to finish than planned, and the budget exploded: Originally set at 77 million euros, the final ticket price was over 789 million euros ($841 million). For years, the construction-in-progress was synonymous for building scandals and an embarrassment to the city of Hamburg.  

Acoustical engineer Yasuhisa Toyota (Reuters/C. Charisius)

Acoustical engineer Yasuhisa Toyota is pleased with the results

Now all that is forgotten. All concerts of the inaugural season are sold out, and even tickets once available at cheap prices are trading on the black market for over 10 times the original price. 

Speaking to the audience, German president Joachim Gauck called the new structure "the trademark of a city filled with variety and open to the world - and a jewel of Germany, a nation of culture."

Joachim Gauck, Olaf Scholz and Angela Merkel (Getty Images/AFP/T. Schwarz)

Germany's President Joachim Gauck, Hamburg's major Olaf Scholz and Chancellor Angela Merkel were in attendance

Quoting a line from Richard Wagner's opera "Parsifal," the motto of the opening concert was "Time becomes space here." That work is on the program this hour, along with one by Wolfgang Rihm commissioned especially for the event, and the choral finale from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.  

Richard Wagner 
Overture to "Parsifal" (1882)

Wolfgang Rihm 
Reminiszence, Triptych and Statement in Memory of Hans Henny Jahnn (world premiere; excerpt)  

Ludwig van Beethoven 
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125. 4th movement: Final chorus on Schiller's "Ode to Joy" 

Hanna-Elisabeth Müller, soprano
Wiebke Lehmkuhl, alto
Pavol Breslik, tenor
Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone
Iveta Apkalna, organ
Bavarian Radio Chorus
NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra 
Thomas Hengelbrock, conductor

Recorded by North German Radio Hamburg (NDR) in the Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg on January 11, 2017.

Elbphilharmonie illuminated by a full moon (Getty Images/AFP/J. Macdougall)

Goodbye to the Elbphilharmonie - but we'll be back

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