Daniel Barenboim has been this way before. This is his third recorded cycle of Robert Schumann’s Symphonies – four wonderful masterpieces, so well served by the gramophone over the decades – and follows Chicago/DG and Berlin/Teldec. Sticking with the Staatskapelle and returning to DG, in September & October last year, Barenboim’s love for this music is undimmed. He has a quest for detail and he is certainly unapologetic in his varied tempos within a movement – cossetting one moment and sprinting the next if not always gelling – but his relish of the music’s painterly qualities makes for a personal and flexible approach (especially in the ‘Spring’ Symphony) that can be questionable (particularly so in the ‘Rhenish’) but is mostly illuminating of these scores’ great potential, certainly keeping the ears on full alert – and the full-strength/powerful if sometimes bombastic Staatskapelle’s playing (no barrier to pianissimos or delicate interactions) is excellent, so too the recorded sound. I trust to memory that Barenboim’s previous Berlin tapings (which I liked very much) were more generous with exposition repeats – on this current release only the one in the first movement of No.4 (revised version) is observed. DG 486 2958 (2 CDs + 1 Blu-ray disc: the Four Symphonies “in Dolby Atmos, Stereo and Surround Sound”).