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Beethoven: The Symphonies / Karajan, Berlin Po


Release Date: 11/25/2003 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000165536   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gundula JanowitzHilde Rössl-MajdanWaldemar KmenttWalter Berry
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraVienna Singverein
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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SuperAudio CD:  $97.49
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This selection is a Hybrid Multichannel Super Audio CD. The Stereo Hybrid SACD program can be played on any standard compact disc player. The DSD Surround and Stereo programs require an SACD player for playback.

By general acclamation this 1963 production ranks as the finest of Karajan's four complete cycles, and while some listeners might prefer individual performances from later (or earlier) sets, here the consensus really is correct. The reason is easy to understand: by 1963 Karajan had managed to put his personal stamp on the orchestra in terms of polish and virtuosity, playing the music like a sort of high-gloss Toscanini, but he had not yet succumbed to that fetish for smoothness at all costs that so often mars his later
Read more work--and that incidentally banished the orchestra's wind, brass, and percussion sections to several decades of sonic purgatory, at least on recordings.

And so in the Seventh the horns ring out as they should; the winds make their emphatic contribution to the Second Symphony's rich textures; the Pastoral hasn't lost every vestige of charm as it was later to do; and the chorus in the finale of the Ninth has more impact than latterly. This classic set was very well remastered as part of DG's complete Beethoven Edition, and here on SACD stereo the improvement is small but noticeable, perhaps not so much in terms of brighter timbres or increased clarity, but as a function of added warmth and naturalness--a touch more depth to the sound image and a greater sense of fullness. The bonus CD of Karajan rehearsing the Ninth is interesting and a thoughtful gesture. In short, whatever the medium, these performances have withstood the test of time, and even if Karajan's is not your favorite Beethoven (and it's not mine), there's no denying this set's excellence.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com 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: 1963 
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 
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 
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 
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: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
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 
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 
9.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gundula Janowitz (Soprano), Hilde Rössl-Majdan (Alto), Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor),
Walter Berry (Bass)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral": Excerpt(s) by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gundula Janowitz (Soprano), Hilde Rössl-Majdan (Alto), Waldemar Kmentt (Tenor),
Walter Berry (Bass)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna Singverein
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Notes: This selection is a rehearsal. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Typical Karajan April 3, 2012 By Richard H. (Glendale, AZ) See All My Reviews "I must disagree with Mr. Hurwitz. There is every reason to deny the excellence of these performances. The BPO is certainly a world class orchestra and karajan knows his stuff but as usual, this is more about Karajan than Beethoven. Granted, this is probably the best of the Karajan cycles but who cares? HVK just loves to double up on instrumentation when HE thinks it should be louder and skip repeats when HE thinks they're not necessary. I have no use for egomaniacal conductors who try to be more clever than Beethoven. In this regard karajan is a prime offender. A great performance must be faithful to the music, not the other way around. Try Vanska and the Minnisota Orchestra on SACD for a great Beethoven performance or the 1972 recording of Sir Georg Solti and CSO which has just been rereleased on CD. Both of these hand Karajan his lunch." Report Abuse
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