I watched a programme last night about the life of Bernard Haitink. A 90 year old Dutch conductor. It was wonderful and inspiring.
The emotions of his life and the wisdom that evolves with experiences, age and reflection, coming together with his talent to create a unique feeling to orchestral pieces. The magic that happens through his ability to interpret music and share that with others. Such subtlety of communication with individual musicians to enable a group to flow together in the music with such beautifully shared emotion.
What power music has in different hands and how the same piece of musical language created by one person can become something new and wonderful depending on the light and shade and breaths of another. Captivating.
He shared many elements of his life both musically and personally and I felt such sadness when I looked at the picture of his fifth birthday which was taken prior to nazi occupation in Amsterdam and how many of those children in that photo disappeared overnight from his school. The descriptions of how humans have the ability to show the best and the worst of themselves and what part fear and revenge plays in that. I felt a lump in my throat in his glimpse at what we humans are capable of.
I was going to attach a piece of music he conducted to go with this but then changed my mind.
The previous night as I was sitting quietly alone my beautiful friend sent me some music and asked me to close my eyes and float to wherever it took me.
There are many places I could have gone in that moment. I am sure that when I listen to it again that it will take me somewhere different and perhaps somewhere more intimate.
But in that moment it made me dream of a world where we choose love. Inspired by another piece of music and film I found the day before.
This is where that took me …
I loved how Bernard Haitink’s children described him…
“As a father he was how he was as a conductor to his musicians. He never exerted his authority but gave us space and freedom.”