SCHUBERT & BRUCKNER
29 August 2016
BBC Music Magazine
Michael TannerHerbert Blomstedt is a senior conductor of the old school,
genial - he spends a lot of time smiling at the orchestra - relaxed, showing no sign of acknowledging recent trends in interpretation: all told, a great relief. In the nobly austere setting of Danmark's Roskilde Cathedral he shows the warm relationship he has with he Danish National Symphony Orchestra, and that all have with the music.The performance of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony
, here confusingly called No. 7, is on a broad scale, with a vast dynamic range, and in the slow movement much exquisite rubato for the exquisite wind solos. This is a tragic view of the work, and it makes a wonderful lead-in to Bruckner's Symphony No. 7, which also receives a loving though not a highly emotional performance - though I missed what used to be considered the `invalid´ cymbal clash at the climax of the second movement, but isn't any longer. It is a straightforward account, not plumbing the emotional depths nor scaling the heights, and with a lean string sound which deprives it of a little of its warmth. The acoustic of the cathedral does seem to be very resonant
, however, and Blomstedt may have been trying to make sure that echoes weren't too long. It makes for a satisfying if not for a great concert, though not one which helps me to understand why Blomstedt has such en immense cult status.