To coincide with his ninety-fifth-birthday,, Herbert Blomstedt appears on Deutsche Grammophon for the first time with music that is central to his concert repertoire and discography. Recorded as recently as November last year, and with sound that is perfectly balanced – no fierce treble, a sonorous bass (try the opening of the ‘Unfinished’), beguiling details (not least from timpani) and dynamics – in the ‘Great’ Blomstedt sets forward-moving tempos (if thankfully not too con moto in the second movement, which journeys inevitably to an impassioned climax) with buoyant rhythms and shapely phrases; everything judged to a nicety and with a superb response from the Leipzigers. Blomstedt observes all repeats and if I could do without the one in the Finale (and he doesn’t always do it, then Schubert does ask for it and even supplies lead-back bars, although the writing is hugely demanding on the violinists in particular; Bernard Haitink once said: “I won’t take that repeat, it would kill my players and I am not going to do that.” Blomstedt leads a glorious account, the dance of the Scherzo and the lilt of the Trio irresistible, the two made indivisible. The Symphony’s ultimate coda is trenchant. The ’Unfinished’ also benefits from antiphonal violins (basses placed to the left) and the sixty-two-minute ‘Great’ ensures a second disc is required for another perceptive and persuasive performance – dark, emotionally aflame, searching for something out of reach – that compels attention and illuminates the score, leaving you wanting more. Deutsche Grammophon 486 3045 (2 CDs).