Haitink Conducts Strauss and Beethoven

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Conductor Bernard Haitink. Conductor Bernard Haitink. (Creutziger)

Tune in Thursday at 9 pm to hear eminent maestro Bernard Haitink lead the New York Philharmonic in a pair of evocative works. The first half features Strauss's Don Quixote tone poem with orchestra principals Carter Brey (cello) and Cynthia Phleps (viola) as featured soloists. The latter part of the program presents Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony, imbued with the composer's love for nature. 

Program Details:

Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Soloists: Cynthia Phelps, viola
              Carter Brey, cello

R. Strauss: Don Quixote

Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, "Pastoral"

Comments [1]

Les from Miami, Florida

I always feel certain that with a master conductor like Bernard Haitink the concert will be completely satisfying; and such was my reaction all during this concert, with three personal and thus subjective quibbles: I much prefer the traditional seating plan with first violins on the left and seconds on the conductor's right, the lack of fortissimo and and use of harder stick by the timpani in the "Storm" movement in the Beethoven Sixth Symphony, and, for me, the lack of fortissimo in tutti passages from the alto and tenor trombones. (Presumably, tenor trombones were used in both parts). The New York Philharmonic in this concert, as it did in Leonard Bernstein's debut concert featuring Joseph Schuster and William Lincer, again offered its principal 'cello and viola players the solo parts as Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, currently Carter Brey and Cynthia Plelps. I have nothing but priase for their performance, ditto the orchestra whose clarity in tutti passages reminds one of Toscanini's recording with the NBC Symphony Orchestra with his principals, Frank Miller and Carlton Cooley. The clarity throughout the work is astonishing, be it in a relatively quiet variation such as Variation II --- the sheep variation with flutter-tongue horns, trumpets and trombones providing the bleeting --- or the singing line in the F sharp major variation --- two bars after rehearsal number 35 --- or the flying windmill Variation VII. Soloistic details were in the forefront as well, reference the glissandi on the tenor and bass tubas that are often played rather perfunctorily. The strings, often playing syncopated unison passages, were always together in their attacks and releases. A masterful and revelatory performance from one and all was this "Don Quixote". I thought the tempos for the Beethoven Sixth Symphony were spot on. Clarity and balance again were in accord throughout; and the two 'cello soloists in the second movement clearly heard. The often-paired clarinets and bassoons in the symphony gave pleasure, as did the flute, clarinet and bassoon solos in that same movement, usually overlooked since they're accompanied as the "Nightingale-Flute, Quail-Oboe, Cuckoo-Clarinet" at the movement's end are not. Equally praiseworthy were the oboe, horn and bassoon solos in the third movement. In short, I thought this was music-making on the highest level.

May. 29 2016 02:39 PM

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