Nikolaus Harnoncourt in conversation
Nikolaus Harnoncourt once said, “Schubert is the composer who is closest to my heart” – and in this edition, Harnoncourt and the Berliner Philharmoniker present a brilliant and multifaceted portrait of the composer. It of course includes Schubert’s symphonies – from the too little-known early works to the “Unfinished” and the “Great” C major Symphony. With Schubert’s final two masses, central works of Romantic sacred music are also represented, plus there is a first-class discovery with the opera Alfonso und Estrella.
Harnoncourt’s case for Alfonso und Estrella is so convincing not least because of the superb cast of singers which includes Kurt Streit, Dorothea Röschmann and Christian Gerhaher. But what lies at the musical centre of this edition is the collaboration of orchestra and conductor. This Schubert is colourful and dramatic – and represents a unique synthesis in which the famous sound of the Berliner Philharmoniker is as evident as Nikolaus Harnoncourt’s familiarity with the transparency and sound speech of historical performance practice.