We talk to the apostle of authenticity about his life and his Schubert recordings with the Berlin Philharmonic.
In 2014, when the Berlin Philharmonic announced that they were establishing their own record label there were those naysayers who claimed that this grand project amounted to little more than costly vanity publishing; that the great days of the orchestra on record were over, despite the evidence of this debut release – a gleaming cycle of Schumann symphonies conducted by Simon Rattle that sprinted with the elegance of a panther.
But I suspect that the Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings’ latest release will go down in history as the moment that the label fully defined what it stands for, outgunning the mainstream classical majors by plundering their archives to assemble a box set which, in these days of austerity, would be highly unlikely to find favour with corporate sales teams. Sprawling over eight CDs, and set like tablets of stone inside an oblong cigar case-sized presentation box, are Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s definitive thoughts on Franz Schubert, a composer who, he says, has touched his being more than any other.
And here are the complete symphonies, Mass No 5 in A Flat Major, Mass No 6...