Recordings of all the Beethoven symphonies with their chief conductor are always a milestone in the artistic work of the Berliner Philharmoniker. So it was with Herbert von Karajan and Claudio Abbado, and expectations are correspondingly high for this cycle conducted by Sir Simon Rattle. Where does the special status of these symphonies come from? Simon Rattle has an explanation: “One of the things Beethoven does is to give you a mirror into yourself – where you are now as a musician.” In fact, this music contains such a wealth of extreme emotions and brilliant compositional ideas that reveal the qualities of the orchestra and its conductor as if under a magnifying glass.
Sir Simon Rattle conducts the Berlin Philharmonic in Mahler's mighty Symphony no 7. Closely associated with both live performances and recordings of the Mahler symphonies throughout his career, Rattle steers the world-leading orchestra through the intense drama of this huge and complex but emotionally powerful orchestral work, marshalling unconventional instruments including cowbells, mandolin and guitar.
Why can't we solve our problems anymore? Why do threats such as the Gulf oil spill, worldwide recession, terrorism, and global warming suddenly seem unstoppable? Are there limits to the kinds of problems humans can solve?
In the first television biography of the celebrated conductor Sir Simon Rattle for 15 years, this documentary provides unique insights into the working life of one of the world's most acclaimed musicians.