The Spirit of Haydn

It’s easy to imagine that I have a lot in common with Helmut Müller-Brühl (1933-2012). A student of philosophy and theology as well as musicology, he seems to have shared a similar set of interests, though with the difference that he did so much more about it!

I happened to discover this blessed soul early on in my musical hobbydom, when I chanced upon this glorious recording of J. S. Bach’s oboe concertos.

This was when I was beginning to develop some tricks of the amateur’s trade, such as looking at the notes in my favorite recordings, and finding out what else a particular conductor or orchestra has done.

In this case, I quickly found that Müller-Brühl was a lover of Haydn, recording album after album of his symphonies and concertos. Haydn was new to me at the time, but has since become one of my most specially beloved composers.

To say that Müller-Brühl is a consummate interpreter of Haydn would be an understatement. For me, he doesn’t so much capture the unique spirit of that happy man, as define it.

Sadly, I can find very little footage of Müller-Brühl in action. The following video, though poor in visuals and sound, is dear to me for affording a glimpse into that momentous day when he conducted Haydn’s Harmoniemesse for a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI.

To appreciate Müller-Brühl’s genius, I recommend the links above. As a reminder that our age is not completely devoid of great men, the video is especially welcome.

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