Thursday, June 14, 2018

Bruckner- oops!

Jascha Horenstein (1898 - 1973)
Jascha Horenstein was marvellous conductor, particularly of Mahler and Bruckner.   He was one of the rare conductors who was really admired by orchestral musicians.  The recordings we did of Mahler’s 1st and 2nd symphonies in Barking Town Hall were really outstanding.
However, one memory stands out of a performance in the Royal Festival Hall of Bruckner’s 7th symphony  (the one with the beautiful slow movement of Wagner tubas).  This symphony has a long scherzo followed by a long trio and then returns to the long scherzo.   During the evening performance,  as we arrived at the end of the first scherzo it was clear that Horenstein thought the movement was ended. Somehow the entire orchestra sensed that he had forgotten the trio, so that with his next down-beat we started the finale.  After a few seconds Horenstein’s face showed absolute shock as he realised that he was set to do the shortest performance ever of that symphony.  Poor man.
Roger Birnstingl 

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