When asked how one could become a worldly writer, it is said that Charles Bukowski once advised a young man to smoke as much as possible and drink alcohol.
It is unlikely that Herbert Blomstedt, the conductor, born in 1927, would give similar professional advice. The silver-headed owner from Sweden is known not only for his sober, clear mind and (quite) graceful musculoskeletal system, but also as a defender of a life free of vices. No alcohol, no nicotine, no meat: Blomsteadt, so to speak, the man with no unhealthy properties. So – and perhaps also thanks to a gracious fate – he still has both feet firmly planted in his career and now, shortly before his 95th birthday on July 11, is triumphing over a new step up the career ladder: his debut album for Prestige will be released on Friday Deutsche Grammophon and jubilarian will perform on the stage of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Oddly enough, this album is easy to confuse with another new release: just a few weeks ago, Accentus also released a recording with the Elderly Swede and the Leipzig Orchestra.
Which of the following CDs you should buy is a matter of taste – they are both of high quality. Bloemstedt, conductor of the Gewandhaus orchestra circa 2000, is well acquainted with its sound culture. On the DG album, he put rich coloring at the service of Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and C Major’s Great Symphony. A romantic recording, one might say given the resonant beauty, the mild rhythm and the abandonment of the extremes of the original sound. However: It did not turn out that Schubert was sober. Blomstedt is experienced at modeling suspense arcs, sometimes with assertive access, and sometimes with a keen love of detail. Even serene filamentous shapes can create an irresistible pull here, the elegant windswept sections of Schubert Ninth Street are sometimes strikingly reminiscent of the coronation of Anton Bruckner.
Possibly the world’s longest-serving conductor adopts a similar tone on the second album: the cool temper, wired dynamics, and meticulously detailed design fully enjoy the beauty of Mozart’s Prague Symphony; In addition, the main D symphony of the Czech composer Jan Vaclav Vuوتشيczek impresses with the gloomy Scherzo. Finally, all that remains is to wish you a happy birthday. And unfortunately also: get well soon! After the fall, Blomstedt has to sit for a few weeks and isn’t allowed to have his birthday parties. But Swedes experts may guess: There is no doubt about returning to the stage.
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