For Simon Rattle, Robert Schumann is "the echt Romantic". And in fact, the exuberance of the period, its passion and its melancholy can be heard with unique intensity in Schumann's music to this day. For the Berliner Philharmoniker, Schumann's symphonies have always been part of their core repertoire. The 1953 Wilhelm Furtwängler recording in particular has attained cult status. And so it only stands to reason that the Berliner Philharmoniker should launch their Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings label with a cycle of the four Schumann symphonies.
The works have accompanied the orchestra throughout 2013 – in Berlin and on tour in Europe and Asia. The Berlin Tagesspiegel, wrote of a "defining moment", while the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung praised the "truly sensational quality." Another special feature of this recording from the Philharmonie is the decision to use the early version of the Fourth Symphony from 1841, whose appeal for Simon Rattle lies in its extra "lightness, grace and beauty" compared to the established later version. The presentation of the product, its packaging and special features, go far beyond what standard CDs offer.
The linen-bound hardcover edition includes the Schumann cycle in different formats, and in addition to the traditional audio format on two CDs, there is also a Blu-ray Disc which enables music lovers to listen to the recording in audiophile studio quality of 96kHz/24bit or as HD video. If you are looking for the recording in even higher resolution, there is an accompanying code which allows you to download a version online in up to 192kHz/24bit. An additional code grants 48 hours access to the Berliner Philharmoniker's video platform, the Digital Concert Hall. The release also includes bonus material such as behind-the-scenes videos and a comprehensive booklet with articles about the composer, his symphonies and the Schumann tradition of the Berliner Philharmoniker.
CDs 1 & 2
Symphonies Nos. 1-4
Symphonies Nos 1–4 in Pure Audio 24-bit / 96 kHz [2.0 PCM Stereo • 5.0 DTS-HD MA]
Symphonies Nos 1–4 in High Definition Video [Full HD 16:9 / PCM Stereo • 5.0 Surround DTS-HD]
For high resolution audio files of the entire album (24 bit / up to 192 kHz)
Digital Concert Hall
7- Day Ticket for the Berliner Philharmoniker’s video streaming service
Rattle displays a fine affinity with these scores and though the orchestra members must have played these symphonies many times there’s never the slightest suspicion of routine here: everything sounds fresh and newly discovered – though I hasten to add that there’s never a suspicion of disruptive point-making.” Music Web
Schumann, Robert: Symfonier nr. 1-4