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Happy 85th Birthday To Bernard Haitink , The Modest Maestro

   "Modest  Maestro "  sounds like an oxymoron ,  but today is the 85th birthday of the venerable  Dutch conductor  Bernard Haitink (High -tink) ,one of  the most eminent  maestros of  our time .  Conductors have the reputation of being  flashy, imperious ,egotistical  and sometimes downright ruthless , but  the veteran Dutch conductor has never shown any of these qualities .  He may be the most unpretentious individual ever to achieve world renown on the podium .

    And  musicians in  virtually all the world's great  orchestras  have enormous respect for his  sterling musicianship and  leadership  abilities .  They certainly don't like every conductor they work under , and in some cases they have nothing but contempt for them , but if you talk to ny of them , they have nothing but the highest  regard for him . They can spot a phony instantly . 

    He has conducted  virtually all of the world's  top orchestras and conducted  opera  at the Met and served as music director of  London's presitgious  Royal Opera for some years ,but the orchestra with which he has been most closely associated is the  great  Royal Concertgebouw orchestra of  Amsterdam , where he was principal conductor for many years untlil stepping down in the  late 1980s .  This is the foremost orchestra in the Netherlands , and  virtually all the world's greatest conductors have  appeared  with it .

     Mestro  Haitink has also served  as principal conductor of the London Philharmonic ,  the Staatskapelle of Dresden ,  music director of the presitgious  Glyndebourne opera festival in England ,  principal guest conductor of the Boston symphony , and  served for some time  as principal  conductor of the  Chicago symphony ,not music director , in between  Daniel Barenboim  and its curren tmusic director Riccardo Muti . He has also been a regular with the Vienna Philharmonic , the Bavarian Radio symphony of Munich and the Berlin Philharmonic .

    As a conductor,Haitink has always  avoided  interpretive flashiness , and his performances are straightforward  but anything but  dull .  His repertoire ranges  from Mozart and  Beethoven to  works  by contemporary composers .,  He is particularly renowned for his performances of the monumental  symphonies of  Bruckner and  Mahler, which he has recorded complete .  

    Haitink has made  numerous recordings of orchestralrepertoire as well as a number of  complete opera recordings , including  Wagner's complete Ring with the  Bavarian Radio orchestra .  He has made no fewer than three recordings of all nine Beethoven symphonies , three of the four Brahms symphonies ,  the six of Tchaikovsky , the nine of  British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams ,  the four of Robert Schumann, aand many other composers .  The  Netherlands has produced a fair number of composers ,none well known outside of  the country , but Haitink  regularly performed their music in  his native Amsterdam .

    He has reached the age of  85, a time  when most people have long been retired or are now in  homes for the elderly , but  maintains an active  international schedule .  Many  great conductors ,such as Stokowski , Ormandy , Sir Adrian Boult , Otto Klemperer , Kurt Sanderling , Pierre Boulez , Kurt Masur , and others have never felt the need to retire  because the physical activity of  conducting seems to promote  good health in old age .

   So let's all wish a happy 85th birthday to a modest but remarkable musician !  



Posted: Mar 04 2014, 08:26 PM by the horn | with no comments
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