Chicago Symphony double bassist and CSO Bass Blog blogger Michael Hovnanian wrote a recent post about the dynamic between the Chicago Symphony and Bernard Haitink. It sounds like the working atmosphere has improved considerably in the Chicago Symphony since the departure of Daniel Barenboim:
For years around here ‘artistry’ has been so firmly linked to negativity that it is almost impossible for any conductor to clear away the poisoned atmosphere. Somehow Haitink managed to do it this week. He is a quiet, self-effacing conductor, and the orchestra really seems to admire and respect him. Rehearsals were eerily quiet when he stopped us to make minor corrections here and there. His remarks were consistently both tactful and effective.
As everyone knows, orchestra musicians are feckless and lazy. Naturally we would prefer any conductor who treated us nicely over one who might attempt to lead us to a higher level of artistry. That in mind, I tried to keep a critical ear on Haitink’s concerts to see if my sense of contentment vanished during the performance or the musical standards had slipped in any way. The concert is after all the time when all conductors are equal in the sense that the lecturers have to shut up and conduct while the nice guys have to show they have enough backbone to actually lead the orchestra.
Click here to read Michael’s complete post.
- Left hand exercises from Michael Hovnanian
- Chicago Bass Ensemble
- Max Dimoff warm-ups
- Interesting discussion in comments of CSO Bass Blog
- Musical examples on CSO Bass Blog