The British maestro on climbing the mountain, the lessons of history and avoiding chauffeur-driven limo Beethoven.

First of all, congratulations on another fantastic recording set and one that’s won our Orchestral Recording of the Year!

Thank you! What a wonderful thing, that’s really an honour for us.

I know you recorded a previous cycle of the Beethoven Symphonies back in 2002 with the Vienna Philharmonic. How different would you say your interpretations are now?

Oh, it’s hard to tell. The thing is, although they’re both these great central European orchestras, the two of them are so different. The Vienna Philharmonic is much more lithe and the Berlin Philharmonic is much heavier and more intense. Also, in Berlin I’ve spent over 15 years playing the Beethoven Symphonies, so it was really interesting to come back and say, “Okay, what do we think about it at this moment?”

What I hope isthere is a little bit more feeling of the whole – of the big shape – than there was. But I’m probably the last person to ask. Anyone who goes into Beethoven with an agenda – “This is what I’m going...