It is with a very heavy heart that I have just heard of the passing of Maestro Bernard Haitink. Who only passed away yesterday, at the age of 92.
It is eerie to know that it was only yesterday that I was listening to some of his Bruckner recordings; his recording of the 7th Symphony from 1978, then going back to the 7th, 8th – and getting halfway through the 9th – from his original Bruckner cycle with the (now Royal) Concertgebouw Orchestra.
I remember the first time that I saw Bernard conduct, which was a recording of him conducting the Concertgebouw in a performance of Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony. It was from this experience, all those decades ago, that my interest in Mahler started, discovering the remaining symphonies before I had left high school. My small tale of inspiration is I’m sure only one of many, some more personally connected to him than my own.
The recording from his final public performance, where he conducted Bruckner’s 7th with the Nederlands Radio Symphony, was only released a couple of weeks ago. I ordered my copy of the recording when he was alive, and now it will arrive after he has gone. Its arrival will be almost Mahlerian, mixed with both sadness and irony. The recording will be cherished, along with the many others that I have of his.
Adieu, Maestro. You had and will continue to inspire generations of musicians and listeners. Your departure is something that will take some time to completely take in. Thank you, and may you rest peacefully