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Karajan Gold - Beethoven: Symphonien 1 & 2 / Berlin PO

Release Date: 11/09/1993 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 439001   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 58 Mins. 

Special Order: This CD requires additional production time and ships within 2-3 business days.  

This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This account of the First Symphony scores over the conductor's previous effort (of 1977) by virtue of its inclusion of the first-movement repeat and exclusion of the gratuitous repeat in the reprise of the third movement. I still find Karajan's anticipation of the first-movement Allegro in the last measure of the slow introduction disturbing, and some may feel he makes the entire movement, for all the beauty of the execution, excessively raffiné. Certainly it is instructive to hear how Herbert Kegel, adopting an identical tempo, suggests more of the music's sparkle and wit with more sharply drawn accents, a better focused profile, and a less homogenized sonority. Karajan's treatment of the remaining movements is superb: lively, Read more gracious, and, despite a fairly large orchestra, clear in texture. My only complaint is his decision to permit the horns to cover an important flute motif in measures 33-34 of the finale, a balance he also favored in 1977, but not in his two earlier recordings of the music.

The Second Symphony, with no first-movement repeat, is remarkably similar to Karajan's very fine 1977 effort. Weighty but not bloated, strongly accented, and—while suave in sonority—free of any unctuous tone, it makes (like the recent Kegel performance) a fine case for this work as a harbinger of the “Eroica.“ The slow movement has a direct, unaffected simplicity that proves especially engaging, and if the third movement seems a mite slow, it is nonetheless beautifully played. In the finale, Karajan permits all of the music's craggy humor to come to the fore, with the brass having a welcome bite. Unlike some of the earlier performances in this series, these are without an occasionally disturbing imprecision in the ensemble. Sonically, this release can be used to persuade the most avid skeptics of the superiority of digital-CD technology. I have never heard strings reproduced more naturally, and the wide dynamic range, tight bass, and broad stereo perspective suggest a concert-hall realism that has been all too rare in the past. Along with the recent Kegel recordings of these works, Karajan's (boasting a more virtuo-sic orchestra) should rank among preferred CD editions.

-- Mortimer H. Frank, FANFARE [3/1986] Read less

Works on This Recording

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: 01/1984 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 25 Minutes 6 Secs. 
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: 02/1984 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 31 Minutes 14 Secs. 

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.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

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