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Karajan Collection - Beethoven: 9 Symphonien / Berlin Po


Release Date: 07/03/1990 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 429089   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anna Tomowa-SintowAgnes BaltsaPeter SchreierJosé Van Dam
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraVienna Singverein
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra/Herbert von Karajan. Deutsche Grammophon 429 089-2 [6 CDs, with Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Coriolan Overture, Leonore Overture No. 3, Fidelio Overture, Egmont Overture, Overture to The Ruins of Athens; also available singly] (symphonies recorded 1975-77; overtures 1965 and 1969)

This is hedonistic Beethoven, though in listening to these accounts one wonders sometimes whether Karajan may not have confused sex with love, and physicality with emotion. At least he seems more concerned with opulence of sound and weight of texture than with psychology or substance – yet while there is neither great emotion here, nor struggle, nor a sense of spiritual release, there certainly is great
Read more beauty and exhilaration.

The readings are typical of the “massaged” style of performance Karajan cultivated in Berlin during the ’70s, and that Andrew Porter famously critiqued when he likened the results to Kobe beef. There is a certain softness under all that muscularity, though for the most part Karajan shows his usual strong grip and maintains the balance of lyrical and kinetic elements. The Berlin Philharmonic, at its peak when these recordings were made, is a marvel: even if its playing rarely sounds fiery or spontaneous, its sound is plush, succulent, and exhilaratingly rich.

Karajan uses a big orchestra all the way through, even in Symphony No. 1 – which as a result sounds rather massive, though not heavy (the brisk scale in the violins at beginning of the fourth movement is delightfully airy). In addition to their polish, his readings are notable for their high energy level. This is particularly true of the Eighth, one of the most successful items in the set, which is interpreted in a way that clearly shows its connection to Seventh. On balance, the accounts run from very good to outstanding (Nos. 4, 8 and 9), but only rarely do they approach the transcendent.

The recordings, made in Berlin’s Philharmonie, are close-miked and mastered at a fairly high level, and sound impressively firm. – Ted Libbey, author of The NPR Guide to Building a Classical CD Collection. Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
2.
Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
4.
Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
5.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807 
Date of Recording: 1977 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1808 
Date of Recording: 1977 
7.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
8.
Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Soprano), Agnes Baltsa (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
José Van Dam (Baritone)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1977 
10.
Leonore Overture no 3 in C major, Op. 72a by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
11.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Overture in E major by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1814; Vienna, Austria 
12.
Coriolan Overture in C minor, Op. 62 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Ruins of Athens, Op. 113: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811; Vienna, Austria 
15.
Egmont, Op. 84: Overture by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810; Vienna, Austria 

Sound Samples

Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 3. Menuetto (Allegro molto e vivace)
Symphony No.1 In C, Op.21: 4. Finale (Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace)
Symphony No.4 In B Flat, Op.60: 1. Adagio - Allegro vivace
Symphony No.4 In B Flat, Op.60: 2. Adagio
Symphony No.4 In B Flat, Op.60: 3. Allegro vivace
Symphony No.4 In B Flat, Op.60: 4. Allegro ma non troppo
Music to Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont" op.84
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 2. Larghetto
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 3. Scherzo (Allegro)
Symphony No.2 In D, Op.36: 4. Allegro molto
Symphony No.7 In A, Op.92: 1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
Symphony No.7 In A, Op.92: 2. Allegretto
Symphony No.7 In A, Op.92: 3. Presto - Assai meno presto
Symphony No.7 In A, Op.92: 4. Allegro con brio

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