Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks - BRSO

Haitink conducts – Beethoven Symphony No. 9

CD: Bernard Haitink – Beethoven 9 © BR-KLASSIK Label

Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks conducted by Bernard Haitink. This live recording from February 2019, shortly before Bernard Haitink announced his imminent departure from the conductor’s podium, is released on CD by BR-KLASSIK.

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A recording of Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ninth” is always a great event, especially because the symphony’s final chorus, Schiller’s “Ode to Joy”, is understood around the world as a plea for peace and international understanding. It was no coincidence that the catchy melody to the text “Joy, beautiful spark of divinity” was chosen as the Hymn of the European Union. This recording of Beethoven’s great choral symphony under the direction of Bernard Haitink and with excellent instrumental and vocal soloists is not only an outstanding interpretation of the work but also very much an event in itself – because these recordings document Haitink’s last ever concerts with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks. Only a few months after his two Munich concerts on February 21 and 22, 2019, the great Dutch conductor – who celebrated his 90th birthday on March 4 – announced the end of his career.

The two Munich concert events at the beginning of the year featured Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, two ensembles with whom Bernard Haitink has been closely associated for many decades now, and they were joined by the excellent soloists Sally Matthews, Gerhild Romberger, Mark Padmore and Gerald Finley.

In an interview with the Dutch newspaper “De Volkskrant” on June 12 this year, Bernard Haitink announced his imminent departure from the conductor’s podium. On June 15, he conducted for the last time at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, and his very last concert of all took place in Lucerne on September 6. “I’m ninety years old”, explained the maestro, “and it’s a fact that I’m not going to conduct any longer. And once I’ve stopped, I don’t think I’ll be able to conduct again”. Haitink’s decision marks the end of a conducting career spanning 65 years. He has been a regular and highly welcome guest of the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, and numerous CDs on the BR-KLASSIK label document the exceptional quality of this creative collaboration.

Ludwig van Beethoven
Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, op. 125

Sally Matthews soprano
Gerhild Romberger
Mark Padmore tenor
Gerald Finley bass

Chor and Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Bernard Haitink

1 CD, Product Number: 900180
Total Time: 72’15

Haitink’s last performance on the podium with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks – one of his favourite ensembles, with whom he has enjoyed many years of close collaboration.