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On demand: Berwald’s Sinfonie Singulière

KonserthusetPlayRecorded at Konserthuset Stockholm: Stora Salen, Stockholm, Sweden

Franz Berwald’s Symphony no. 3 in C major - also knowns as Sinfonie Singulière - is filled with drama and ardent intensity. It is performed here by the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, led by the legendary Herbert Blomstedt, who is – throughout the ages – Sweden’s most acclaimed and famous conductor internationally. Also, according to Bachtrack's statistics, in the year 2018, at the age of 91, he is among the top ten busiest conductors in the world.

Berwald is a prominent figure of nineteenth-century Nordic music and he has been called Sweden’s greatest symphonist. But his importance developed more recently. In his lifetime, Berwald struggled to be able to dedicate himself to composing full time, but he did not succeed. Instead he became known for innovative solutions in orthopaedics and opened an orthopaedic clinic in Berlin in the mid-1830s.

Today it is challenging to understand the cool reception of Berwald’s music by his contemporary audience. Sinfonie singulière thunders with rhythmic energy, and the middle movement’s slow melodies are carried by passion and warmth. This forward-looking music gazes at what would later be realised by Nordic greats such as Sibelius and Grieg. 

Herbert Blomstedt has conducted the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra well over 200 times since his debut in 1954. He is considered the absolute greatest Swedish conductor of the modern age and has worked with orchestras all over the world, including Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Berlin Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris and especially the San Francisco Symphony, for which Blomstedt was chief conductor for ten years. In conjunction with Blomstedt’s 90th birthday and his guest performance in 2018, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra named their main conductor’s lounge after him.

Filmed in May 2018.

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