|Bernard Haitink, LSO 10/3/19 photo : Sylvia Haotong Wong|
Bernard Haitink at 90 : honoured by the London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbicua, London: as honour for the audience, too, not only in the hall but internationally, online. A true Haitink programme : Mozart Piano Concerto no 22 with Till Fellner, and Bruckner Symphony no 4. Haitink was looking much less exhausted than he did in Munich (Please read more here) where he had conducted several concerts in a row : at 90, anyone deserves a rest ! Most people couldn't conduct like this, even in their dreams. A truly classic performance, with the depth and sensitivity that are hallmarks of Haitink's style, where the music shines, not the conductor. Haitink channels the composer, inspiring his players to give of their best.
Absolute poise from Fellner, the richness in his playing adding sparkle, supported by the LSO. This is what "classical balance" means : equanimity, elegance, civilization. Virtues which in these venal, mendacious times we need to cherish all the more. Not long ago someone said to me "No-one listens any more to Mozart and Bach". I thought, "No wonder trolls are taking over the world". Haitink reminds us that sensitivity and intelligence are what make us decent human beings. In that context, Haitink's Bruckner shone with the nobility one might associate with Beethoven, warmed by the humility that lies at the heart of Bruckner. This symphony is like a cathedral : beautifully shaped and proportioned, with little personal quirks embedded, all dedicated in the service oif some higher power, whether that power is God, or music itself. I'm noit 90 - yet - but I came away refreshed and reinvigorated.
Can't wait til Thursday when Haitink returns to the LSO with Dvořák Piano Concerto (Isabelle Faust, another Haitink regular) and Mahler Symphony no 4 (Anna-Lucia Richter, whose first London recital I heard at the Wigmore Hall way back when - she's proved her promise! I will write more about her Schubert CD Heimweh, shortly)