Bernard Haitink

Last Sarurday night BBC2 TV showed a 90 minute documentary on Bernard Haitink the veteran conductor, now 90 and recently retired to the Cotswolds. Lucky man indeed.
It shows the BBC can make Saturday evening a notch above Strictly Come Dancing.
I thought Haitink spoke in a very honest way about his life in music, almost too much from a profession not knowing for keeping a low profile either on or off the podium.
There could have been more about his earlier life with his first wife but nothing to say what he might have said about those times. Perhaps he wanted that kept in the background?
His comments about Mahler as an overplayed composer these days had a ring of truth about them. Its was obvious that Bruckner 7 was a favourite of his and probably his favourite composer as well.
Gustav Mahler was THE favourite of Leonard Bernstein down to the score of his 5th symphony being in his coffin on buriel.
The documentary maker, John Bridcut, had a similar profile on Janet Baker some months ago.
There must be a lot of bits on the cutting room floor before it becomes a programme to air.
I found the Baker profile much more perceptive, but it must depend on how much the subject is prepared to open up. Haitink must be a much more private person. Nothing wrong with that in my book.


Yes I watched this too, really excellent both on informing about him personally and also the social history of the last 80 years.

Excellent programme, makes it worth switching on the telly.
Also enjoyed the documentary about the Wynton Marsalis Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.

I enjoyed the programme as well. I was at Haitink’s last UK appearance at the Proms last year. Two memorable perfomances: Emmanuel Ax and Beethoven 4th piano concerto (it was meant to be Murray Perahaia but he was unfortunately ill). From the very first chord, you knew it was going to be good. I am not very fond of the piano concertos (I know - Kill the heretic :slight_smile:) but even I enjoyed it.

And then Bruckner 7; memorable as a performance and not just because of the emotional element of it being his last performance in the UK and just 3 days before his last performace ever at Lucerne as shown in the film. It was a cracking perfomance deserving of the standing ovation.

I only saw Haitink once a long time ago at the Festival Hall. Its that far back I am unable to recall the programme. At one time he had a repution for being boring, unjustifed by a long way in my view. He looked quite frail but is 90 years old. I read once that Bruckner writes music in paragraphs.
He joins the ranks of retired musicians who retired before their decline.
The Lucerne hall has produced some excellent blu-ray concerts. Abaddo, Chailly, amongst others. Sound, when through my 500 system is often excellent.

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We saw Haitink conducting Bruckner 7th at the Proms about ten years ago. We booked quite late and found ourselves in a box that had just been released for public ticket sales by whoever owned the rights. It was close to the orchestra and so we were able to watch him as he conducted. It was a totally memorising experience and overwhelming musically.



Thanks for this. I will follow up on iPlayer.



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