Many Happy Returns from Classical Source to Bernard Haitink, 90 today.

Colin Anderson writes... This milestone occasion gives an opportunity to mention an Eloquence release, “Bernard Haitink The Early Years”, Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra recordings from the early-1960s compiled from three Philips LPs. The opener is a rugged and vivid, stately yet full-of-life, traversal of Beethoven 8 (July 1962), droll in the second movement, dancing in the Minuet, glowing with song in the Trio, full-toned in the outer movements, both given time to fully express themselves in outline and detail. There follows a brace of Mendelssohn works, an exhilarating account of the ‘Italian’ Symphony (February 1963), in which Haitink is just as considerate to lyricism, and an atmospheric and capricious outing for the Hebrides Overture (May 1960). Recorded in the same month is Symphonic Etude by Haitink’s fellow-Dutchman Hendrik Andriessen (1892-1981). This 1952 piece – premiered by the Hague Philharmonic and quickly taken up by the ACO, with van Beinum, Kubelík and Haitink, Kondrashin later – twice alternates Adagio and Allegro sections, shadows vying with dynamism, heartache vanquished by levity and determination, played superbly. Excellent sound/remastering throughout, the famed Concertgebouw acoustic unerringly captured.

[ELOQUENCE 482 8627; 70 minutes; ★★★★★]

  • Imminent appearances in London by Bernard Haitink, with the LSO at Barbican Centre: March 10, 14 & 21, with a date in Paris during this time. Programmes include Symphonies by Bruckner and Mahler.


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