March 20, 2009 at 5:51 AM
Sometimes it takes Americans, at least me, some time to catch up with the Europeans, in this case, the Dutch. I recently got an email in a language I didn't understand, although I recognized it as Dutch. Google translator refused to translate it for me, so I looked for words that I could understand. When I saw "Concertgebouworkest" and "Bernard Haitink," I knew this had to be good, and I clicked on one of the links. I kept following links until I got to http://radio4.nl, which Google translated for me. I learned that radio4 is the Dutch classical music channel, which has webradio, podcasts, news briefs, and free downloads. I saw "Bernard Haitink 80 jaar, Nu GRATIS downloads...", so I eagerly followed that link. On the next page, I saw English near the right top of the screen, and when I clicked on it, the page was translated into English. I found that I could download three works conducted by Haitink for free: Bizet's Symphony in C Major, Schumann's Symphony #1, and Beethoven's Symphony #3, the Eroica. Then I followed the link to "MORE FREE KCO DOWNLOADS." (KCO translates to "Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.") I followed that link and found ten symphonies performed by the Concertgebouw and directed by various people other than Haitink. I had trouble downloading the recordings, so I emailed to the technical staff at radio4, and they gave me a lot of help. Now I have 13 beautiful recordings of the Concertgebouw, three directed by Bernard Haitink, on my computer, and I got them all for free.