Michael White (Gramophone magazine) writes:
Like popes, conductors tend to carry on until they drop; and although Herbert Blomstedt insists that's as far as comparisons go, he does happen to share with the current incumbent of the Holy See an 85th birthday this year – which (very like the pontiff) he's facing in robust health, with a full diary.
I caught up with him in Monaco where he was on tour with the Dresden Staatskapelle, playing Bruckner. And it was an appropriate thing to find him doing, given that for much of his career he's been regarded as a kapellmeister figure: serious, sober, and a touch severe in his dedication to the core German repertory.
But the reason I wanted to meet him (which I'd never done before) had nothing to do with any of that. For years I've carried a torch for Herbert Blomstedt as the man responsible for what I consider the best Nielsen symphony cycle on disc – done in the late-1980s/early-‘90s when he was music director of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.