The concert was live streamed worldwide, an indication of just how important this concert was, for it marks the Philharmonia’s 34-year relationship with Salonen. I missed the first concert in 1983 when a very young Salonen substituted at a few days’ notice. The score was new to him, but he learned fast, earning the respect of the orchestra. In 2007, he conducted Mahler 3 again to mark the re-opening of the Royal Festival Hall and its then new season (see here). Shortly afterwards, I was at an airport with members of the orchestra, saying how much they enjoyed working with Salonen, though they didn’t realize civilians were listening. Orchestras are often a hard-bitten bunch, so that was praise indeed.
So I booked Salonen’s third high profile M3 with the Philharmonia months in advance. (it goes without saying that these weren’t the only M3’s) No regrets, even though it made a long commute on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The atmosphere in the hall was mellow.. Sitting beside me was a gentleman of 90 who was a junior engineer working on the building of the Royal Festival Hall, nearly 70 years ago. His eyes were shining, as he described the engineering innovations that went into the structure. State of the art, for the time. I didn’t understand the technicalities, but what an honour it was to meet someone as enthusiastic as that.
Source: Opera Today