Sunday, December 16, 2007

Chicago's Search Continues...


The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is continuing its search for a more permanent principal conductor. Don't get me wrong, Bernard Haitink has been doing an amazing job at keeping the orchestra in wonderful shape and challenging them at every turn. My most recent experience of Haitink was with the training orchestra of the CSO, and the results were stupendous. He is a conductor of international renown who is committed to a high level of musical excellence. Of course, he realizes that he can't accomplish that goal without the help of the orchestra he conducts. He would never say something like this:

“What I try to do in my life is not to be loved by the orchestra but to do a great job artistically.”

Bernard Haitink realizes that good music is produced through the cooperation and combined dedication of himself and the orchestra before him. Great music is the combination of the conductor's vision and the orchestra's precision. One cannot be achieved without the other. Haitink would never believe that he could achieve great music on his own. Each player has a role to play, with each section's leader being responsible for the craftsmanship of those beneath him or her. He would never say something like this:

“There will not be a single leader ... I’m the single leader.”

When Haitink leaves Chicago, I hope that his replacement will share his values about how to produce good music. There is no room for ego in the creation of art which is produced by over 100 people. The final product is more than the sum of its parts. If that is the belief of the conductor, there would be no animosity from those who work with him, not under him.


WD in KC said...

I read your boyfriend's blog regularly, so I know of your classical music propensities. After reading the article in today's NYT, I wondered what your thoughts might be.

What an understated, but clear reaction.

BTW, I wish James allowed comments on his blog. As a sweet, nerdy 60's guy, I'd like to respond to his sweet, nerdy 20's musings. And, I know populations and other useless facts (of course, my population facts are based on the 1950 census).

I'm a classical music aficionado myself. I sing with the KC Symphony Chorus as well as KC's gay men's chorus. Dictatorial, insensitive conductors are the pits - especially when they fool the public.

Z. Carstensen said...

I don't really have an opinion on the matter. I know only what is reported.

What I do know is the Seattle Symphony performs at a high level. They have put together riveting and grand performances of Mahler and Bruckner. Programming is interesting and fresh. Benaroya Hall is a phenomenal venue.

A co-blogger from Chicago posted about Haitink and he has his own opinion.