Mozart and Strauss were Ashkenazy's private passions - he felt a deep affection for them. In Mozart he devoted particular attention to the concertante pieces, in Strauss what fascinated him were the extreme polarities: simplicity versus great complexity, folksiness versus anarchic avant-garde sound effects, the contrast between programme music and abstract music. This presented Ashkenazy with a fascinating interpretative challenge both intellectual and musical. The programme of the Symphonia domestica depicts a day (including night and love) in the life of the Strauss family, painted on a broad symphonic canvas. However, Ashkenazy explored the work as music per se for him the programme was of secondary importance, merely throwing a little light on the composer's personality. That music has meaning in its abstract configurations was obvious to him from very early on. The performance of Mozart's A major Violin Concerto K 219 reveals the full extent of the unsual strong musical chemistry between Pinchas Zukerman and Vladimir Ashkenazy: Soloist and conductor perform on the basis of a totally shared concept of the work. This is no surprise: Zukerman and Ashkenazy knew each other well, frequently playing chamber music together during the 1990s. Vladimir Ashkenazy was the chief conductor of what is now the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin from 1989 to 1999. This CD brings together live concert recordings made during the middle of his tenure and in his last season with the orchestra.