Bernard Haitink conducted Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony for the first time with the Concertgebouw Orchestra in 1959. The symphony was then recorded for the first and only time under his direction and with ‘his’ orchestra for Philips on LP in 1969. Haitink was to go on to perform the work with them more than twenty times in the years that followed. Under his direction, the Concertgebouw Orchestra was to establish a Bruckner tradition of international calibre.
Thirty-six years after his first Bruckner recording comes a new live recording of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony performed by the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra under their conductor laureate Bernard Haitink.
Total time: 01:25:30
Bruel & Kyaer
|Original Recording Format|
Everett Porter, Carl Schuurbiers, Daan van Aalst
Concertgebouw Amsterdam, The Netherlands
|Recording Type & Bit Rate||
|Release Date||November 11, 2016|
“In this latest recording Haitink builds the first movement with great patience and understanding. The climaxes, such as the one around 9’00″, have grandeur and a sense of inevitability. Mind you, the sonority of the Concertgebouw Orchestra is a great boon. There’s a tremendous richness to the string sound (e.g. around 12:00). As was proved when the orchestra visited the Promenade concerts in London in September 2005 the players really are displaying a rich vein of musical form. So, with a foundation of wonderful string tone crowned by golden brass the final climax of this movement (from 14:27) has great power. There’s a resigned air to the music, which I find just as satisfying.
The scherzo is purposeful and strong. Haitink imparts a rugged sturdiness to the rhythms but he also shapes the more lyrical trio beautifully.
The huge adagio, arguably Bruckner’s greatest single achievement, is at the heart of the performance, as it should be. Here’s where Haitink’s powers of concentration and his ability to take a sustained long view pay dividends. The whole movement is superbly controlled from the rostrum and is wondrously played. Bruckner’s seemingly inexhaustible string lines are splendidly sustained and the brass plays with glowing tone. Haitink negotiates every transition in the music with admirable skill, weaving the movement into a seamless whole. The climaxes build inexorably and majestically and when the final climax arrives (at 21:55) it has been superbly prepared over several paragraphs and bursts forth in radiant majesty. The coda is quite splendid. The choir of Wagner tubas and horns is gently sonorous and the strings play with great eloquence.
The finale can sound the most episodic of the four movements but Haitink moulds one passage into another with the skill that comes from long experience and musical wisdom. His control of pace seems unerring – a comment which could equally well apply to each of the preceding movements. When the final peroration arrives he begins it in mystery and gradually escalates to a concluding blaze of power and majesty. Applause has been retained, rightly in my view, but it comes after a respectful pause and there’s no cheering; such a reaction would have been wholly out of place given the dedication of the performance.
This is a reading of nobility and integrity. This reading is a very fine achievement indeed and it’s graced by superb playing. The recorded sound is very good.
Every Bruckner collection ought to contain at least one Haitink version of the Eighth so if you haven’t so far acquired a recording by this great Brucknerian then this authoritative newcomer is very warmly recommended.”
‘A historical listening experience’
‘Monumental Bruckner from Haitink’
‘Haitink grants Bruckner his full depth’
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