Berlin Philharmonic: A Musical Journey in 3D

Most of my musical journeys are in 3D, but then I'm lucky enough to hear most of my music live. I am probably therefore not the target audience of this cinema release by the Berlin Philharmonic, which aims to bring the experience of a live concert to those without the habit or possibility of attending one. Even so, this recording of Simon Rattle conducting Mahler's First Symphony and Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances, taken from a concert in Singapore's Esplanade last autumn, dazzled on numerous levels.

The last time I heard Mahler's First from these forces was in the Albert Hall, where only the occasional detail of Rattle's virtuosic interpretation reached me. In the cinema, everything is right there, the extraordinary presence and definition of the sound revealing not just the finesse of the playing but also the gutsy energy of performances that, elsewhere, have risked seeming somewhat mannered.

The speakers seem to bundle all the instruments into a ball a few feet in front of your head, from which individual instruments and sections jump out at you like bursts from a flyweight boxer. But that's nothing compared to the video, where the audience perspective is less that of a good stalls seat (which cost £300 or so at the concert) than a helicopter darting silently around a stage that, thanks to the 3D distortion, expands and contracts like a maniac concertina. The depth of the image is bewildering, too: a man two rows in front of me was assaulted several times by the seventh horn's elbow before being jumped on by Sir Simon.

This is all great fun until the sea sickness sets in – but then you can just shut your eyes and enjoy what was a stormingly good concert.

Read the full review here

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