Acclaimed Swedish conductor Herbert Blomstedt leads the prestigious Wiener Philharmoniker in two chefs-d'œuvre of symphonic Romanticism: Franz Berwald’s Third Symphony and Dvořák’s Seventh Symphony.
Considered by many to be Scandinavia’s first great orchestral composer, Franz Berwald is a relatively unfamiliar name for many 21st century concert audiences. His masterwork, the Symphony No. 3 in C Major (called the “Sinfonie singulière”) is the only one of his four symphonies to have been performed during his lifetime, and that premiere took place 60 years after he completed it in 1845! The three-movement work shows the influence of German Romanticism (his music can be described as a cross between that of his friend Mendelssohn and his Scandinavian successor Sibelius), yet is masterfully orchestrated and treats harmony and motivic development innovatively for his time.
Berwald’s style is sometimes compared to that of Dvořák, whose darkly passionate Symphony No. 7 in D Minor (1885) follows on the program. Though Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony is by far his most played, the Seventh shows him at the pinnacle of symphonic mastery. Inspired by his friend and mentor Brahms’s own recently-composed Third Symphony, he chose to take a more universalist approach, subtly weaving Czech musical themes into a masterpiece of the German symphonic paradigm.
Photo: Herbert Blomstedt © Matthias Creutziger
Europakonzert 1995, Florence
2013 New Year's Eve Concert