Author Topic: Bernard Haitink  (Read 381 times)

Offline Prospero

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Bernard Haitink
« on: September 18, 2019, 07:45:27 AM »
I think it worth noting the retirement this month at 90 of Bernard Haitink, whose 65 year career presented Mahler in concerts and recording for a span of time seldom if ever equaled. His dedication to Mahler since the 1960s is certainly notable and has had its enduring influence on our understanding. He is known for being a musician's conductor, and many orchestra members speak fondly of making music with him.

His first M9 with the Concertgebouw was praised by Deryck Cooke in 1970 as the finest version up to that time in his experience.

I have often felt that his sense of the structural integrity of the symphonies was of greatest importance. I first had this thought after a performance of M5 with the LPO in London in February 1983 where the chorale of the second movement returned at the end of the last movement with a sense of the underlying integrity of the work. This may be common experience of others, but hearing it live and recognizing it through the Haitink performance was very important to me. I heard him live in M1 and M9 twice also as well as in many other programs.

We all have our experiences and preferences, but I think it worthwhile to acknowledge the historical and musical importance of Haitink and his music making.

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2019, 11:59:34 PM »
I'm not sure he was quite as good in the last two decades as in previous decades, but that's hardly the point. Haitink was and remains a class act. His recordings of Mahler, Bruckner, Debussy, Ravel, etc., etc. - with the Concertgebouw - are competitive with the very best out there. He later spread that knowledge and his class act around to numerous places. We all know them: Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Munich, London, Boston, Chicago, Paris, etc. All of these places, and the musicians he worked with in those places, are better off for having had that experience. How appropriate it should end with Bruckner 7 with the Wiener Phil. It could have just as easily have been Mahler 7. Bernard Haitink, ladies and gentlemen, has left the building. It's always best to leave them wanting more.

Offline Matthew

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2019, 03:03:21 AM »
I couldn't agree more -- certainly a great conductor and someone who seemed to be universally admired by orchestral musicians. I always enjoyed watching Haitink conduct as well, it always felt like an ideal blend of clarity and emotion. Terrific control but plenty of passion, too. Speaking of Mahler 7, it was Haitink's live Christmas Day concert in 1985 (broadcast live on TV by the BBC -- those were the days!) that I first heard the symphony, and got me hooked on it. I still value the "Kerstmatinee" set of CDs and DVDs very highly, especially the M5, M7 and M9, and will always remember the dramatic drop of the baton at the close of M9. Whether intentional or not, it felt somehow appropriate and seems to sum up Haitink's emotional commitment to the music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjYs99atLUI

Offline barryguerrero

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 04:03:03 PM »
Yep, the Kerstmatinee set is quite special. I like the Mahler 8 that's on Youtube, which is not affiliated with the earlier Philips recording. My favorite M6 recordings with Haitink are his first Concertgebouw one and the Berlin/Philips remake.

Offline Roland Flessner

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2019, 05:45:47 PM »
The world of serious music celebrates his long and distinguished career. Here in Chicago I was privileged to attend concerts where he led M2, M3, M4, M6, M7, M9 and DLvDE, along with a Bruckner 7. Memories to treasure!

And what a huge and varied discography he leaves us. Leaving aside, for just a moment, the heavy-duty stuff, his RCO recording of Bizet's Symphony in C is pitch-perfect. I was never quite satisfied with any recording of that delightful work until I happened upon Haitink's.

Offline akiralx

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2019, 06:17:21 PM »
Like most folk here I have many of Haitink's Mahler recordings - in fact his old M5 was the first CD I bought decades ago, I still enjoy its warmth and affection, even if more incisive readings have appeared since.

I will add that his recordings of Debussy's La Mer, and Vaughan Williams' Pastoral (No. 3) and Sixth symphonies are ones I particularly treasure.

I only heard him conduct live once, many years ago: Haydn 86 and Bruckner's terrific Sixth with the Dresden Staatskapelle.

Offline James Meckley

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2019, 08:44:44 PM »
I heard Haitink perform live only once—a Bruckner 8 with the Vienna Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall shortly after the 9/11 attacks. It was one of the handful of concerts I'll remember as long as I remember anything. The next day the orchestra reassembled in St Patrick's Cathedral and Haitink led them in the great Adagio from Bruckner 7 as a memorial tribute to the victims of the attacks—a wonderful gesture.
"We cannot see how any of his music can long survive him."
Henry Krehbiel, New York Tribune obituary of Gustav Mahler

Offline waderice

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Re: Bernard Haitink
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 04:45:17 AM »
The only time I ever heard Haitink live and in person was years ago when the Amsterdam Concertgebouw was on tour and they came to the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC to perform.  They played M5, a concert I will always remember.

Wade

 

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