Haitink Conducts Haydn and Bruckner

« previous episode | next episode »

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Conductor Bernard Haitink. Conductor Bernard Haitink. (Creutziger)

This Thursday at 9 pm listen to eminent maestro Bernand Haitink lead the New York Philharmonic in a pair of works. First on the program is Haydn's "Miracle" Symphony, so-called because it was reported that a large chandelier fell in the audience during the premiere, miraculously harming no one. Historians note that this event actually took place during the premiere of Haydn's Symphony No. 102, but the nickname stuck to the previous work.

It's followed by Bruckner's towering Symphony No. 7, most successful of the composer's nine symphonies during his life. 

Program Playlist: 

Haydn: Symphony No. 96, "Miracle"

Bruckner: Symphony No. 7

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

Praise is due Bernard Haitink for including a Haydn symphony on this well-matched program. It's my feeling that his symphonies are almost all but neglected on orchestras' programs in the U.S.A. nowadays, for some reason inexplicable to me. The invention in his symphonies is always there. In the first movement, there are eight beats of rest followed by change of key; in the slow movement's g minor section, there's a dissonant clash between second violins playing E natural and the first violins playing F natural and a duet between the solo first and second violins; the third movement offers a delightful oboe solo in the Trio, tastefully ornamented and not scored; and there's the always fleet finale. The tempos and balances were spot-on; and the editing of the violins' parts as regards ties and staccatos were also eminently tasteful. The Bruckner Seventh Symphony boasted the same qualities vis-a-vis tempi and balance. The unison passages played in octaves by all instruments except the timpani were always together. The Wagner tubas in B flat and F along with the bass tuba blended perfectly in the slow and final movements. I had two qualms about the performance. For me, solo flute playing today is different from past decades' performance by employing very slow vibrato. I always prefer to hear a fast vibrato regardless of a movement's tempo or composer. The seating plan in which the first and second violins are massed together on the conductor's left is bothersome to me because all the bass clef instruments are on the right and therefore gives a bottom-heavy feeling throughout. Also, any antiphonal writing is lost on the listener, as well as unison passages for violins --- and there are many in this symphony --- that are written to be heard from the left and right. As regards tempos and balance and phrasing, the performance was superb.

Jun. 10 2016 08:25 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

The WQXR e-newsletter. Show highlights, links to music news, on-demand concerts, events from The Greene Space and more.