For Simon Rattle, Jean Sibelius is “one of the most staggeringly original composers that there is”. And indeed, this music has a unique musical language whose many beauties are particularly succinctly conveyed in Sibelius’s seven symphonies. There is sonorous warmth as much as there is austere Nordic folklore. Moreover, there is a conceptual boldness that takes the listener on exciting musical journeys of discovery. In 2015, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Sibelius’s birth, Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker presented the cycle live, which was met with unanimous delight by audiences and critics alike. “The Philharmoniker show that with them and Simon Rattle, Sibelius is in excellent hands,” wrote the Berliner Zeitung, “because the orchestra has that astringency and sheer power which is so important for this kind of music.”
Rafael Kubelik was one of the 20th century's most brilliant and charismatic conductors, yet under-appreciated because of his reluctance to embrace the "star" system. Here he is seen working with the great orchestras of Berlin, Vienna and Amsterdam, and featured in a bonus biographical documentary acclaimed for "stylish camera-work and a counterpoint of image, word and music reflecting Kubelik's spontaneity, exuberance, trust in emotion, and ability, even in tailcoat, to retain his warmth and humanity" (Süddeutsche Zeitung).