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Brahms: Symphony No 1; Schoenberg: Verklarte Nacht Op. 4 / Karajan, Berlin Po

Release Date: 01/13/2009 
Label:  Testament   Catalog #: 1431   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Johannes BrahmsArnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

In October 1988 Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic made a five-day tour of Vienna, Paris and London. 40 years had passed since he had first conducted in London in April 1948. During those years audiences throughout the world had flocked to his concerts. True, there was a half-empty hall in Vienna one raw February evening in 1948 when he programmed Reger's Mozart Variations with the Seventh Symphony of his beloved Sibelius; and only a handful of people were present in London's Royal Albert Hall in November 1949 to hear him conduct a critically acclaimed Beethoven Ninth. But as the years passed the words 'Karajan' and 'Sold Out' became more or less synonymous. As physical frailty began to manifest itself in the early 1980s, and the painful Read more spinal condition that had nearly cost him his life in the winter of 1975-76 became ever more problematic, a feeling spread abroad that each new visit might be the last. This was certainly the case in London on 5 October 1988 - albeit mingled with a sense that having survived thus far this dauntless octogenarian might well go on and on. It was not to be. This would indeed be his final London concert. Unbeknown to the audience arriving at the Royal Festival Hall that evening, the concert itself hung in the balance. The players were present but their instruments, which were being transported by road from Paris, had been delayed by industrial action in France. With the help of a high-speed police escort from Dover, they arrived at the hall at 8pm. The concert began, an hour late, at 9. Why hadn't the instruments been airlifted from France, grumbled one critic, noting the sky-high ticket prices and sponsorship by a leading bank. He had a point, though those in the hall were more relieved than aggrieved, impressed by what one wag dubbed the Berliners' 'Dunkirk spirit'. If the orchestra was tired and on edge, it hardly showed. Sunday Telegraph critic Malcolm Hayes observed: 'It is a measure of the greatness of the orchestra and of its conductor Herbert von Karajan, that after such an exasperating pre-concert hiatus - which had prevented the chance of even a quick rehearsal in the Festival Hall - they delivered performances of Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht and Brahms's First Symphony that justified every superlative in the book'. Extract from the note © Richard Osborne, 2008 Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 1 in C minor, Op. 68 by Johannes Brahms
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855-1876; Austria 
Verklärte Nacht for String Orchestra, Op. 4 by Arnold Schoenberg
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1899/1943; Vienna, Austria 

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