“The French conductor Emmanuelle Haïm stopped a group of New York Philharmonic musicians who were rehearsing Handel’s ‘Water Music’ on a recent morning at David Geffen Hall” to refine a few phrases, writes Corinna da Fonseca Wollheim in Tuesday’s (11/20) New York Times. “Ms. Haïm’s animated conducting … can be seen as she makes her Philharmonic debut in performances on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the Baroque repertory that is her specialty. It is an unusually challenging assignment, bringing the aesthetic of the early 18th century to an ensemble that makes only rare forays into that era…. ‘It is so important for the musicians to play this music, to widen their palette,’ Ms. Haïm, 56, said.… ‘But it is also important to have specialist groups.’ … Referring to the organic strings on period instruments, she added: ‘The gut tells you how to play.’ Translating ‘gut’ lessons into the world of symphony orchestras—with modern forces, large halls and tight rehearsal budgets—means choosing one’s battles….. She said her goal was not to force the musicians to sound as if they played on period instruments… Rather, she said … inspired music-making will lead to idiomatic Baroque technique, not vice versa.”
Click here to read Symphony’s Fall 2018 article about orchestra musicians who perform in musical styles from Baroque to contemporary.

Posted November 21, 2018

In photo: Conductor Emmanuelle Haïm rehearses the New York Philharmonic at David Geffen Hall this week. Photo by Nathan Bajar / The New York Times