|Sir Simon Rattle: only on his terms|
Photo: c Sheila Rock/EMI Classics
Following a spectacular opening for his London Residency with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon has been speaking to BBC TV News. Yesterday, in an interview with the BBC's Will Gompertz, he declared:
"I think it's clear that London and Munich are the two great cities in the world that don't have proper concert halls. The music lovers of London and of the country would deserve to have something where also the orchestras can flourish.
"You have no idea how wonderful an orchestra like the London Symphony Orchestra can sound in a great concert hall. The Barbican is serviceable. But it's like when I've seen so many young violinists finally be handed a great violin - it's a whole other world."
He also drew a pertinent comparison between the general conditions and the generous rehearsal time he has with the Berliner Philharmoniker and the LSO's relentless schedule of performing and touring.
"The kind of conditions a European orchestra has, which any orchestra would take for granted in Europe, are on the wildest edges of science fiction in our country, particularly in London. It's hard to explain to people just how hard and brutally these London orchestras work."
Will Gompertz asked him whether he was saying that if he can alter the conditions towards something a little closer to that of Berlin, then he would accept the LSO music director post, and if not, he wouldn't?
"I think the conditions for the players are incredibly important," said Sir Simon, "because it's a matter of what actually people can achieve."
Gompertz concluded that Rattle would come back to Britain - but only on his own terms. Which is pretty much what we thought.
The sound of the Berlin orchestra in Sibelius's first two symphonies was so overwhelming, by the way, that I scarcely slept a wink that night. My review should be up at the Independent website soon.