Robert Schumann was committed to supporting the young Johannes Brahms who, in turn, honoured Schumann’s memory after his death. They also both held Clara Schumann in great affection, without doubt the great love in the lives of both composers. As an early highlight of the 2014/2015 season and at the same time part of Musikfest Berlin, the Berliner Philharmoniker and their chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle presented a cycle with the two composers’ four symphonies within a few days, a work by Schumann followed one by Brahms in each concert. These performances can be seen as the end result of an intense exploration of these works over several years during the Rattle era. In this introduction, the conductor talks about Schumann who, according to recent research, composed even faster than Mozart, and whose life alternated between depressive and manic phases. He also discusses Brahms’s difficult path to his First Symphony, and the influence of Clara Schumann on both composers.