Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Haitink 60th Jubilee Mahler 4 broadcast RFO not RCO


Last night, Bernard Haitink conducted Mahler Symphony no 4  to celebrate the 60th anniversary of his debut as a conductor. It's ONLINE NOW, in full video ! Listen soon because it won't be up long. Mahler 4 is very close to Haitink's heart, so this is a wonderful performance,. But it's even more poignant because, on this very important occasion, he's conducting the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. He's been associated with them for many years, of course, but they aren't the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam. Haitink began conducting the RCO in 1957 so it really was a major shock when he suddenly quit on the very eve of his 85th birthday. Read how the story broke HERE (in Dutch). Haitink nooit meer bij Concertgebouworkest  (Haitink will have no more to do with the Concertgebouw)

Haitink felt that thr RCO management wasn't treating him with enough respect, so he decided never to play for them again. It wasn't a spur of the moment decision but had been building up for some time, as these things usually do. What was unusual, though is how Haitink went public. Usually all sides are cagey, speaking through lawyers and agents in mutually agreed terms. 

Haitink's been around long enough that he can rest on his laurels. Although some click baiters claim they know why Franz Welser-Möst quit the Vienna Staatsoper, nothing in fact has been revealed. I wasn't that surprised, as the Vienna Staatsoper has had a chequered past and in recent years it's got quite boring. But we should show more respect for condutors who place artistry above all. In this increasingly pusillanimous world, ruled by petty short-term values, we need conductors who stand up for what they believe in.

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