Berlin’s Tagesspiegel spoke of the “worldly-wise“ charisma of the conductor Herbert Blomstedt when he celebrated his 90th birthday last year. To this very day, the Nestor of the international conductors’ elite has remained a firebrand, whose sparse gestures give rise to musical conflagrations. Johannes Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 1 is made for such fireworks. In this work the “young lion” tried to deal with the shock of Robert Schumann’s attempted suicide as well as his unconsummated love for Clara Schumann. The solo part in this romantic masterpiece is played by the Norwegian Leif Ove Andsnes, praised by the Süddeutsche Zeitung for his “splendid sound and completely controlled piano playing.” Herbert Blomstedt leads the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, of which he is the honorary conductor. Another “first” rounds out the programme, namely Brahms’ Symphony No.1 in C-minor, which was fourteen years in the making and which Clara Schumann considered “wonderfully magnificent, completely overwhelming”.
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