Bernard Haitink's classically clear and direct approach combines élan, elasticity and, where appropriate, tremendous rhythmic punch – his readings of Boléro and La valse are volatile, yet thrillingly disciplined to the last. He brings a natural compulsion to the languorous eroticism of Daphnis et Chloé Suite No. 2, while his idiomatic handling of the earliest (and slightest) of these works, the Menuet antique and familiar Pavane pour une infante défunte, is equally beguiling. Haitink's painstaking attention to fine orchestral detail adds refined distinction to his Valses nobles et sentimentales and crystalline delicacy to both Le tombeau de Couperin and the more elusive Ma mère l'oye. There are few more vibrantly evocative, or palpably exciting versions of the Rapsodie espagnole and Alborada del gracioso. Don't be in the least surprised, however, if the phenomenal sound quality prompts an incredulous second glance at the recording dates quoted in the booklet!
The founding of the Berliner Philharmoniker on the first of May in 1882, is annually celebrated with a concert in a European city of cultural significance. For this newly released EUROPAKONZERT Blu-ray Disc all recordings were lovingly restored and converted to High Definition video. The Berliner Philharmoniker are joined for Mozart’s Motet and Mass on this recording by Christine Schäfer, whose unique timbre and performing style has more than once been likened to those of other vocal greats such as Irmgard Seefried and Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. This round of exceptional musicians is completed by Emanuel Ax, winner the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Master Competition, as the soloist for the works of Chopin and Schumann.
Bernard Haitink conducts the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Brahms’s great orchestral works, including the complete symphonies. The concertos feature three great soloists: pianist Claudio Arrau, violinist Henryk Szeryng, and cellist Janos Starker. "No one, I trust, will deny that Arrau has lived with, wrestled with, and in a truly terribly way ’known’ the D minor Concerto for more years than most of us can consciously recall. Where contemporary pianists have often tended to refine or domesticate the concerto, withdrawing it from the world of heroic endeavour, Arrau has always done the reverse. No pianist, apart possibly from Serkin in his several recordings, has communicated so formidably the work’s scope: its seriousness and its anxious, tragic mood. Often Arrau makes free with the text. But the vision is huge, the technique astonishing. Haitink is a worthy accompanist."
Bernard Haitink has had a long association with Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 3 in D minor, from his classic 1966 stereo recording with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to his 2006 audiophile recording with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. This 2016 release on BR Klassik finds Haitink leading the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in a stirring live performance that shows no diminishment of the conductor's interpretive powers, and compares quite well with his previous renditions.
In 2015 the Berliner Philharmoniker dedicated an evening of their renowned Easter Festival in Baden-Baden to one of the most famous and beloved of German composers, Ludwig van Beethoven. Together with Bernard Haitink, a universally acclaimed authority on the works of that composer, they performed Beethoven’s exquisite expression of nature, his Symphony No. 6, the “Pastoral”. They were joined for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto by Isabelle Faust, whose interpretation of the work has enjoyed widespread acclaim.
NVC ARTS returned to Glyndebourne in 1994 for the opening of the beautiful, new opera house and a recording of an opera closely associated with Glyndebourne; Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro. Stephen Medcalf's production is complemented by John Gunter's sparsely furnished sets, offset by the rich greens, reds and blues in the scenery and costumes. A perfect Glyndebourne cast includes Gerald Finley and Alison Hagley who give touching performances of Figaro and Susanna. Andreas Schmidt is a strong and handsome Count Almaviva, Renée Fleming is a ravishing Countess and Marie-Ange Todorovitch is an irresistably love-sick Cherubino. Bernard Haitink draws polished playing from the London Philharmonic.
Translucence, transparency – warmth' are the qualities identified by Bernard Haitink as necessary for an ideal sound performance of Beethoven's only opera, and all are present in this fantastic recording of Katharina Thalbach's new production for Opernhaus Zurich. Haitink conducts the Zurich Opera Orchestra in a magnificent performance in which Leonore Overture No. 3 provides an interlude between the two scenes of the second act, following a tradition started by Gustav Mahler.
Rachmaninov's opus 1, his first piano concerto, deserves to be heard more often. The opening bars have that heroic sound that raises the hair on the back of the neck. Indeed those first moments rank alongside those of the Grieg and Tchaikovsky piano concertos for their ability to thrill. Ashkenazy's breathtaking playing on a superb piano is matched by that of the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Haitink's direction.