This recording gives a fascinating portrait of the approach to Bruckner’s music developed by Bernard Haitink and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra over their many years of working together.
"Bernard Haitink: The Symphony Edition" is one of two recent box sets from Decca, marking Haitink's eighty-fifth birthday in 2014. Together with Haitink: The Philips Years this set offers a broad, tantalizing overview of the great Dutch conductor's compelling artistry, and makes a near-perfect introduction to one of the truly magnificent recorded legacies of our time. Haitink will be 85 on 4 March 2014, and this set presents his six complete symphonic cycles by cornerstone classical composers: Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, Schumann and Tchaikovsky.
At one point back in the days of LPs it seemed that conductor Bernard Haitink was waging an Ormandy-like campaign to record all of the Western orchestral literature for Philips. Moreover, for many listeners this was a welcome pursuit because Haitink was so good at so many things; his 1973 recording of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du printemps is still considered one of the most superlative readings of the work, even though Haitink's catalog ultimately grew to the extent that it became difficult to single out what was best within it.
This Philips Classics DVD Video is part of a series of films from the legendary Mahler cycle performed by Bernard Haitink and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in the early 1990s. This title presents Mahler's ground-breaking Symphony No. 1, subtitled "Titan" with its mighty successor, the Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection". Sylvia McNair (soprano), Jard van Nes (mezzo-soprano) and the Ernst-Senff Choir appear in the Symphony No. 2, along with Haitink and the Berlin Philharmonic. As a bonus feature, each DVD contains a Mahler Chronology (Life, times and Important dates) as well as a Mahler Gallery. Sound LPCM Stereo & DTS 5.1 Surround.
Composer: Gustav Mahler
Performer: Elly Ameling, Aafje Heynis, Maureen Forrester, Ileana Cotrubas, Hermann Prey, Marianne Dieleman, Birgit Finnilä, Heather Harper, Hanneke van Bork, William Cochran, Hans Sotin
Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble: Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Netherlands Radio Chorus, St. Willibrod Boy's Choir, Netherlands Radio Women's Chorus, Stern des Volks, Amsterdam Toonkunst Chorus, Collegium Musicum Amstelodamense, St. Pius X Children's Choir, St. Willibrod Children's Chorus
For years Philips has witlessly reissued, over and over, Edo de Waart's not particularly spectacular Rotterdam recording of Saint-Saëns' "Organ" Symphony, letting this superb version, one of the great modern recordings of the piece, languish out of print. If you missed it during its 15 minutes of availability back in 1985, here's your chance to make amends…. Haitink's Bizet Symphony always has been a reference recording, distinguished by its stunning playing (marvelous oboe solo in the second movement) and unfailing elegance of phrasing. Indeed, the approach is quite similar to de Waart's
Rachmaninov's opus 1, his first piano concerto, deserves to be heard more often. The opening bars have that heroic sound that raises the hair on the back of the neck. Indeed those first moments rank alongside those of the Grieg and Tchaikovsky piano concertos for their ability to thrill. Ashkenazy's breathtaking playing on a superb piano is matched by that of the Concertgebouw Orchestra under Haitink's direction.