Herbert Blomstedt (photo: Martin U. K. Lengemann)

Herbert Blomstedt conducts Sibelius and Brahms

“Conducting is a good profession to grow old in, because it’s always a challenge, and you need challenges when you get older,” said Herbert Blomstedt, born in 1927, who is continuing his long-standing collaboration with the Berliner Philharmoniker with undiminished energy and vitality. On this programme Sibelius’s dark, mist-shrouded Fourth Symphony is contrasted with Brahms’s Third.

Berliner Philharmoniker

Herbert Blomstedt conductor

Jean Sibelius

Symphony No. 4 in A minor, op. 63

Johannes Brahms

Symphony No. 3 in F major, op. 90

Dates and Tickets

Thu, 10 Jun 2021, 20:00


Fri, 11 Jun 2021, 20:00



In addition to a tendency towards taciturnity – a trait often attributed to Northern Europeans – Johannes Brahms and Jean Sibelius were also both convinced that programmes should be dispensed with when composing symphonies. Even without extramusical associations, however, every contribution of the two composers to this genre is characterized by a strong, individual profile. Brahms’s Third Symphony is distinguished by its alternation between major and minor, as well as the stark contrast between the dramatic force of the outer movements and the intermezzo character of the middle movements. Sibelius’s Fourth Symphony, which many experts consider his most important, is marked by fragmentary motifs, dissonant harmony and an uncompromisingly tragic mood. Whereas Brahms’s Third dies away in piano, Sibelius’s Fourth breaks off abruptly at the end. Brahms conducted his F major Symphony himself during a concert of the Berliner Philharmoniker shortly after its premiere in 1884 – “from the manuscript”, according to the archives, since it was not printed until several months later. Herbert Blomstedt has been a guest with the Berliner Philharmoniker every season for years. After unforgettable performances of Bruckner's symphonies, works by Beethoven and the First Symphony by Brahms in 2017, he can now be experienced here for the first time as a Sibelius interpreter.

Herbert Blomstedt (photo: Martin U. K. Lengemann)