The recording of this new version of the symphony is nicely reverberant and quite mellow, though detail registers clearly enough. At the outset of the first movement the tempo is quite expansive. Karajan conducts with a certain autumnal passion and there is a rich glow in the BPO's playing. As the movement progresses there are a few agogic mouldings of phrase, but crucially with this conductor the basic pulse of the music is strong and well maintained. There is no Toscaninian white heat, but nothing is over-refined or too legato. The slow movement is again on the slow side, launched by glorious playing from the cellos, and while the phrasing is fully finished the music is kept well on the move. In the third movement Karajan lets the musicRead more flow easily and naturally at first, but typically he does not unbend for the more frolicsome passages and hereabouts the characterization of the music is a little distant. There is plenty of fire at the outset of the finale, with playing which is strong and insistent: in the more introspective section of the movement Karajan matches the mood of the music well. The work ends with as exciting a climax as one has the right to expect of a conductor in his late seventies. Karajan's reading of the Haydn Variations is well integrated and unidiosyncratic.
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