Herbert Blomstedt & NHK Symphony Orchestra

Conductor Herbert Blomstedt (born in the U.S. in 1927 to Swedish parents) is one of the prominent leaders of the classical music scene in Japan, together with Russian Vladimir Ashkenazy, André Previn, Charles Dutoit and Seiji Ozawa. Tonight on NHK's N-Kyō-Hour program, he conducted Mahler's 9th symphony, a splendid recording from April 10, 2010 at NHK Hall in Tokyo.

In April, Herbert Blomstedt "conducted Bruckner Symphony No.5 and Beethoven Symphony No.3 Eroica, all large works deserving of a conductor of his stature."

"Words fail me," said announcer Iwatsuki Satoko, as the last notes faded away...

NHK Symphony Orchestra official website

Jean Sibelius: Tapiola op.112 Herbert Blomstedt conducts NHK Symphony Orchestra (Wikipedia)

On October 5th, 1926, Japan's first professional orchestra came into being – the New Symphony Orchestra, the predecessor of the present NHK Symphony Orchestra. After being briefly called the Japan Symphony Orchestra, it was renamed the NHK Symphony Orchestra when it began to receive full financial support from NHK Nippon Hoso Kyokai (Japan Broadcasting Corporation) in 1951.

Throughout its more than 80-year history, the Orchestra has continually invited many of the world's most renowned conductors, including Josef Rosenstock, Herbert von Karajan, Ernest Ansermet, Joseph Keilberth, Lovro von Matacic and Ferdinand Leitner, to name but a few, to raise its artistic and technical standard to a level which now makes it one of the top orchestras in Japan, all the while working with some of the world's most celebrated soloists to offer the public innumerable outstanding performances which have become entrenched as part of Japan's history of classical music.

The NHK Symphony Orchestra has won acclaim worldwide for its 29 overseas concert tours which began in 1960, its presentation of commissioned premiere works of world famous composers, as well as for its audio recordings which have been released by some of the world's most respected music labels.

This kanji (kyō) is a difficult one. Any ideas where it may have originated? NHK交響楽団 (NHK kōkyō gakudan) means NHK Symphony Orchestra. At the bottom is the same radical as for "music" which of course is 音楽 (ongaku). But the 響 (kyō) also has the meaning of "echo" (hibiki) or sound, reverberation, even noise. The verb is 響く (hibiku) to "resound." 交響曲 (kōkyō kyoku) is the general term for a classical symphony. Tangorin has more


Pandabonium said…
I've always enjoyed playing works by Sibelius. Moving stuff. (and he wrote good parts for the trombone section ;^) )
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comment. Yes, I think "moving stuff" sounds up Jean Sibelius rather well. I'm glad you had the opportunity to actually play his music!

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