This afternoon's concert by the CSO and Jaap van Zweden was a revelation for me. Of course I have known about this conductor for some years, and my friend and colleague Michael MacLeod who runs the Hong Kong Philharmonic has just appointed him Music Director to succeed Edo de Waart. Double Dutch as he put it! It seems to me to be a remarkable catch.
Van Zweden was concertmaster of the Amsterdam Concertgebouw at a very tender age. And hearing him conduct Beethoven's 7th symphony this afternoon made me think that he must at some point have some under the spell of the great Bernard Haitink. But he is far from being a Haitink clone - he is unquestionably his own man. But he has the discipline of Haitink and his feeling for the structure of a Beethoven symphony. His long experience in the Concertmaster's chair will have given him an intimate knowledge of the detail of the piece. Whether Haitink was a mentor or not I have no idea - but the Concertgebouw is a destination for the greatest conductors of the day so he will have worked with the best.
We had a thrilling performance by this virtuoso orchestra - a magical mix of Haitink and Solti - that is my first impression of Jaap van Zweden! More please!