Notes and Editorial Reviews
"Karajan recorded the core German repertoire over and over in what seems, in hindsight, an almost desperate attempt to establish himself as The Great German Conductor of the 20th Century. Yet as time goes on, his most enduring achievements outside of the opera house and the music of Richard Strauss look to be those recordings in which he ventured away from his chosen Fach: Honegger, Sibelius, Shostakovich, the Second Viennese School--even the Haydn Paris symphonies. Here's a case in point. Unquestionably one of the great Prokofiev recordings, this version of the Fifth Symphony has long been a favorite with critics and listeners, and for good reason. It's gorgeous. Yes, the recording has almost no bass at all (and even excellent
remastering can't restore what was never there to begin with) and the lower brass might as well not have shown up for the sessions. But with string playing of this body and richness, crisp winds, and a deafeningly splashy tam-tam at the climaxes of the first and third movements, who cares?"
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Karajan's reading of the Fifth Symphony is outstanding in every way. It is a totally unaffected, beautifully played account, with the Berlin Philharmonic on top form, and the DG engineers at their best. The recording is a model of its kind, allowing all the subtleties of the orchestral colouring to register without any distortion of perscetive. It has splendid range and fidelity and is wholly free from any artificial balance. It is here paired with his highly individual version of
The Rite of Spring to make an intriguing coupling in DG's Originals series.
-- Penquin Guide to Classical Compact Discs and DVDs, 2003/04 issue
Prokofiev and Stravinsky were hardly among conductor Herbert von Karajan or the Berlin Philharmonic's specialties though their very personal accounts here of these two Russian orchestral staples are never less than interesting. Their lush, vigorous performance of Prokofiev's 5th Symphony is thrilling with the winds and strings especially displaying exceptional precision and clarity. While lacking the extrovert fury the vast majority of conductors bring to Stravinsky's Rite of Spring, Karajan's certainly unique, lighter, more neighbor-friendly interpretation will appeal to some as well.
--DG Universal Classics Read less
Works on This Recording
Le sacre du printemps by Igor Stravinsky
Herbert von Karajan
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century
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