Sir Simon Rattle needs no instruction to any audience, let alone a British one. Probably our most successful and acclaimed current classical music export, his stewardship of the mighty Berlin Philharmonic since 2002 has reaped coveted rewards. No less iconic an ensemble are the Vienna Philharmonic, and no less fruitful the collaboration - their recorded Beethoven cycle was a thrilling, richly-detailed survey of the symphonies.
Brahms's evocative, Romantic Symphony No 3 is here paired with Schumann's Symphony No 3, 'Rhenish' - the title reflecting the composer's captivating depictions of a happy visit to the Rhineland with his wife Clara. The two are linked, the Brahms quoting from the Schumann. Clara meanwhile, hearing Brahms's symphony many years later, was to exclaim 'What a work!'.
Intense, highly expressive, at times fragile and exposed, at others explosive, the orchestral exploration of Webern's Six Pieces for Orchestra is both a challenge and gift for an ensemble and conductor as skilled as the Vienna Philharmonic and Rattle.
'The sound of this orchestra is simply extraordinary.' The Telegraph