Vienna Philharmonic/Herbert von Karajan. Deutsche Grammophon 429 226-2 [Symphony No. 7] (recorded April 1989).
Herbert von Karajan’s recording of the Seventh with the Vienna Philharmonic was the last recording he made. His powers were never greater than here, at the end of an astonishing 50-year recording career, when he deserted Berlin for Vienna, and an orchestra that was ready to give him everything he wanted.
This is a performance that grows as one listens, accumulating extraordinary power. It is alive, feverish, visionary, far more urgent in expression than Karajan’s prior rendition with the Berlin Philharmonic. There is a Mahlerian quality to the reading – very personal, fervent, almost mystical. And theRead more score itself seems to be a kind of heated plasma rather than the solid marble of the Berlin account; the searing edge and intensity of expression in the playing of the Viennese strings at times approaches incandescence.
In the end, though, the reading is perhaps a little too urgent. For while there should be intense feeling in the performance of this symphony, there should also be a sense of modesty, of humility before the throne. The recording has good presence, but not enough firmness in the bass. – Ted Libbey, author of
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Works on This Recording
Symphony no 7 in E major, WAB 107by Anton Bruckner Conductor:
Herbert von Karajan
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic Written: 1881-1883; Vienna, Austria Date of Recording: 04/1989 Venue: Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna Length: 66 Minutes 6 Secs. Notes: This performance is of the 1944 Robert Haas Edition.
Average Customer Review: ( 2 Customer Reviews )
Extra-ordinary BrucknerFebruary 24, 2015By charles l. See All My Reviews"Of all the Bruckner recordings that I have, I value this one above all the others. Not only is it von Karajan's last recording, but it is an extra-ordinary achievement for a conductor and orchestra at any age. The tempos are perfect, the playing exemplary, the orchestra more than marvelous - damn, it's their music ! Herbert von Karajan has left us a témoignage of his love for Bruckner's music with the WP (including the 8th recorded several months earlier), and the result is just stunning, critics' opinions not withstanding. i invite to listen to this recording, critically, and decide for yourself if you have not heard the music of a master played and interpreted by masters themselves."Report Abuse
Vintage BruckneSeptember 28, 2012By Peter Jensen See All My Reviews"Karajan was recognized as one of Bruckners supreme interpreters. This label draws attention to a problem which is of course related to the qualities that went into Karajans capacity to seemingly provide a pieces ultimate performance. Who needs a supreme interpreter? These are ideas from a school that may have begun with the cult of the virtuoso (Paganini ,Liszt) achieving full flower with Wagner who raised the conductor to the level of a creative cypher. Karajan himself was not allergic to a bit of stage craft, in his early Berlin days he was slowly led to the rostrum with his eyes shut. He was obviously capable of anything. The element of grandiloquence that marks his approach to serious German music was similarly indicia of the era he grew up in artistically. The focus on a consistent line of tempo and steady rhythmic control creates a sense of sonic architecture (note his capacity to allow the big moments to unfurl as if thtime had stopped, everyone else suddenly sounds one size smaller ) was a key element of his ability to lay out a Bruckner symphony in a nuanced , dramaturgically insightful and musically accurate way. The Berlin Philharmonic cycle s a genuinely impressive achievement . Yet so much sounds over played, laser like brass, apocalyptic drum rolls and strings that veer from a crushing fortissimo to a breathy whisper/ This is a world way from the gemutlich Barenboim, the humility of Wand and the mysticism of Furtwangler. Yet performances of the second fifth, and ninth are so well paced and shaped that caveat on sound are forgotten. (Try the second movement of th second symphony. In karajans hands it becomes an adagio comparable with the nint . The transitions played by hymning violins are echoed in Mahlers sixth symphony). The seventh got a decent outing in the Berlin cycle as well. Silvery trumpets, tutti focused but spacious. Many will also own the HMV recording originally release with a beautiful fourth symphony. The performance is justly famous, lauded for the natural repose to be found in the phrasing and the suitably refined shadings in the orchestral balance. Fortunately Karajan attended to the project of remaking the late symphonies with the VPO in digital sound. The VPO as everyone knows is the Bruckner orchestra, the unique sound of the horns, the Viennese lilt in the scherzos, the tonal quality of wind redolent of alpine rumination and of course the strings that produce golden tone even when churning out the most colossal tremolandi. Karajan seems to have been influenced by these sound possibilities, this does not sound like the ultimate performance and for that it is so much better The approach to the first movement abandons the moulding of sleek seductive phrasing , the approach has a Klemperer like core, combined with ultra fine dynamics. The weight given to the ending of phrases is notable as well. The adagio, (the piece conceived in the aftermath of the death of Wagner) is closer to Parsifal here than it has ever been before. The sense of space and grace in the unfolding of the unforgettable cello lines radiates throughout the movement. A similar effect was achieved by this conductor in a recording of the Siegfried Idyll in Vienna (an excellent disc which features Jessye Norman singing an oceanic liebestod ) This represents a great conductors final thoughts and there is palpable sense of an attempt to strip back to the core of a creative insight. Do not hesitate, the Adagio is a gift."Report Abuse