Symphony No.96 in D (Miracle)
Symphony No.7 in E [Nowak edition]
New York Philharmonic
Reviewed by: Gene Gaudette
Reviewed: 17 November, 2011
Venue: Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center, New York City
Haitink has never been given to musical hyperbole, yet I don’t think I’ve ever heard a concert performance of Bruckner’s Seventh that had as much forward momentum, excitement and compelling tension. The Philharmonic responded with virtuoso playing. The outer movements were presented convincingly as yin-and-yang bookends; Haitink brought convincing introspection and yearning to the first and extrovert radiance to the finale, highlighting the movements’ structural similarities and driving the point home with judiciously chosen broader tempos for the codas, executed with breathtaking beauty and brilliance. The Adagio was taken at a far faster clip than I have heard, yet sounded unforced, with dynamic and timbre contrasts stunningly executed. For those of you keeping score (Nowak’s), yes, Haitink included a cymbal crash at the climax, but it did not seem as over-the-top as it can. In the scherzo, Haitink’s balancing of sections and instrumental groups brought a number of surprising details and nuances out of the mix.
For two weeks in a row, Bernard Haitink has summoned forth the most pleasing overall sonority and best balances I’ve heard from the New York Philharmonic in a while – not unlike the brilliant sound cultivated by Lorin Maazel, but with an added depth and warmth in the lower strings. Here’s hoping the Philharmonic brings him back next season.