Conductor Herbert Blomstedt has turned 90, but has a baffling mental and physical presence on the podium.
He discovered Mahler as chief conductor in Dresden at the end of the 1970s. “I read a lot there about the history and traditions of European Jews, about the village musicians and the songs that expressed both longing and grief.
Mahler’s first symphony has a theme from a Jewish folksong, which I perceived as an equivalent of Beethoven’s picture of folk life, adapted for a symphonic context. And I saw how brilliantly orchestrated it was! Since then, I love his music.”
Like Mahler, Haydn also lived and worked in Vienna, but Symphony No. 104, the London Symphony, was, obviously, composed in the British capital, where Haydn, with the help of driven promoter Solomon, had become the talk of the town.
No wonder with such fanciful and inspired music!
Haydn Symphony No 104 "London"
Mahler Symphony No 1
The Gothenburg Symphony, called "one of the world's most formidable orchestras" by the Guardian, has toured the USA, Europe, Japan and the Far East and performed at major music centres and festivals throughout the world. Chief conductor is Santtu-Matias Rouvali who started his tenure in 2017. Kent Nagano has been principal guest conductor since 2013. Already at the orchestra's very first years, the great Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar was appointed principal conductor, contributing strongly to the Nordic profile of the orchestra by inviting his colleagues Carl Nielsen and Jean Sibelius to conduct their own works.
Subsequent holders of the post include Sergiu Comissiona, Sixten Ehrling and Charles Dutoit. During Neeme Järvi's tenure (1982-2004), the orchestra became a major international force. In 1997 it was appointed the National Orchestra of Sweden. The list of prominent guest conductors has included Wilhelm Furtwängler, Pierre Monteux, Herbert von Karajan, Myung-Whun Chung, Herbert Blomstedt and Sir Simon Rattle. The orchestra also runs extensive concert projects for children, and regularly releases digital live concerts free on www.gsoplay.se.
The orchestra has issued over 100 recordings on BIS, Deutsche Grammophon, Chandos, Farao Classics and several other labels, including the complete orchestral music by Grieg and the complete symphonies of Sibelius, Nielsen, Stenhammar and Atterberg, and most recently orchestral music by Richard Strauss. The Gothenburg Symphony is owned by the Region Västra Götaland.
Herbert Blomstedt Conductor