Programme guide

Bernard Haitink enjoyed a close collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker. At the age of 35, he made his debut with the orchestra in Hans Scharoun’s newly inaugurated concert hall. In the years that followed, he conducted the Philharmoniker more than two hundred times, and in October 2004 the orchestra made him an honorary member. The recording of their last concert together is therefore not only an invaluable document of Bernard Haitink’s artistic work with the orchestra, but also a tribute to a unique friendship.

After many failures, Anton Bruckner achieved a long-awaited triumph with his Seventh Symphony: within a very short time, the work, first performed in 1884, made it onto concert programmes in Munich, Chicago, New York, London, Amsterdam and Berlin. This is probably one of the reasons why Bruckner’s Seventh was spared the usual “suggestions for improvement” by well-meaning conductors. It owes its solemn character especially to the dark timbre of the wind instrumentation, which was expanded by four Wagner tubas. To this day, the symphony, with its seemingly endless melodic arcs, is one of the composer’s most frequently performed works.

It was preceded by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s last piano concerto. Paul Lewis was making his debut as a soloist with the Berliner Philharmoniker. Along with Till Fellner and Kit Armstrong, he is one of Alfred Brendel’s best-known students. However, the British pianist has long since emerged from his teacher’s shadow and regularly gives guest performances at the most prestigious concert halls as well as at all the major festivals.

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