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Great Conductors Of The 20th Century / Herbert Von Karajan


Release Date: 07/13/2004 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 62868   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Johann Strauss Jr.Modest MussorgskyEmil WaldteufelJean Sibelius,   ... 
Performer:  Helga Dernesch
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic OrchestraPhilharmonia OrchestraBerlin Philharmonic Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Mixed 
Length: 2 Hours 40 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Herbert von Karajan was so prolific a recording artist that proof is easily available to either support or disprove his credentials as a "great conductor of the 20th century". EMI tilts its idiosyncratic selections to the more vital conductor of the 1950s, wisely refusing to rest its case on the overcontrolling, mannered, latter-day Karajan. Unfortunately, the roots of that later style are easily discerned at times, such as in his mid-1950s Ravel-Mussorgsky Pictures at an Exhibition, notable for a blandness unique in the recorded annals of the work, with neither wit in the jabbing trumpet promenades nor menace in the growling basses. Along the way we're also treated to routine solo turns and the image of Bydlo's cart gliding Read more smoothly along a highway of infectious boredom.

But a 1953 Sibelius Fourth, also with the Philharmonia, finds Karajan at his brooding best, with phrases strongly sculpted, the opening reeking of mystery, and the orchestra in top form. Fine as his later Berlin Philharmonic versions were, this one's his best-recorded Fourth. The sound too, in glorious mono, is first-rate, with clearly etched details emerging naturally from a sound picture lacking only stereo to be fully competitive today.

The other big work on these discs is unexpected--Walton's First Symphony, in a live 1953 broadcast recording with a sub-par Italian radio band and engineered in a way that defies EMI's best attempts to make it more than just listenable. Despite compressed dynamics, restricted tonal range, and an orchestra stressed beyond its capabilities, you hear a very un-Karajan-like peformance, bristling with energy and passion (slightly cut, with a good bit of rescoring too).

The rest of the disc is given over to what amounts to pop-concert fare, which makes for some strange discmates we never would expect to hear cheek-by-jowl with heavier works. On Disc 1, Johann Strauss' Tritsch-Tratsch Polka is immediately followed by the Walton Symphony, and Disc 2 leads off with Waldteufel's Skater's Waltz, oddly followed by the Silbelius Fourth and a good but not great Liebestod from 1971 with Helga Dernesch. The final half-hour is drawn from vividly engineered 1958-1960 Philharmonia sessions with an atmospheric Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody, a slightly heavy Polka from Weinberger's Schwanda the Bagpiper, a pair of delectable Chabrier works, Espana and Joyeuse Marche, and an overblown Offenbach Barcarolle.

--Dan Davis, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tritsch-Tratsch-Polka, Op. 214 by Johann Strauss Jr.
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1858; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/18/1949 
Venue:  Large Hall, Musikverein, Vienna, Austria 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 
2.
Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 
Notes: Arranger: Maurice Ravel.
This selection is a mono recording.
Kingsway Hall, London, England (10/11/1955 - 10/12/1955); Kingsway Hall, London, England (06/18/1956) 
3.
Les patineurs, Op. 183 by Emil Waldteufel
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1882; Paris, France 
Length: 7 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Kingsway Hall, London, England (09/21/1960); Kingsway Hall, London, England (09/23/1960) 
4.
Symphony no 4 in A minor, Op. 63 by Jean Sibelius
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; Finland 
Venue:  Kingsway Hall, London, England 
Length: 9 Minutes 48 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording.
Kingsway Hall, London, England (07/06/1953 - 07/07/1953) 
5.
Tristan und Isolde: Mild und leise "Liebestod" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Helga Dernesch (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1971 
Venue:  Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin-Dahlem 
Length: 7 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
6.
Hungarian Rhapsodies (6) for Orchestra, S 359: no 2 in D minor by Franz Liszt
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 11 Minutes 5 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording.
Kingsway, Hall, London, England (01/09/1958 - 01/10/1958) 
7.
Schwanda the Bagpiper: Polka by Jaromir Weinberger
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Prague, Czech Republ 
Date of Recording: 09/23/1960 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
8.
España by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1883; France 
Date of Recording: 09/23/1960 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
9.
Joyeuse marche "Marche française" by Emmanuel Chabrier
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 09/23/1960 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 1 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
10.
Les contes d'Hoffmann: Barcarolle by Jacques Offenbach
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1881; Paris, France 
Date of Recording: 01/06/1959 
Venue:  Kingsway, Hall, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 8 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a stereo recording. 
11.
Symphony no 1 in B flat minor by Sir William Walton
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Italian Radio Symphony Orchestra Rome
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932-1935; England 
Date of Recording: 12/05/1953 
Venue:  Auditorium del Foro Italico, Rome 
Length: 12 Minutes 17 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is a mono recording. 

Sound Samples

Tritsch-Tratsch Polka Op. 214 (2004 Digital Remaster)
Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: I. Allegro assai
Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: II. Presto, con malizia
Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: III. Andante, con malinconia
Symphony No. 1 in B flat minor: IV. Maestoso - Brioso ed ardentemente - Vivacissimo - Maestoso
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Gnome
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Tuileries
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Ballet of the Chicks in their Shells
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Two Old Jews (Goldenberg and Schmuyle)
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Market Place at Limoges
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Catacombs
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Hut on Fowls' Legs (Baba Yaga)
Pictures at an Exhibition (2004 Digital Remaster): The Great Gate of Kiev
Les Patineurs - valse [Op. 183] (2004 Digital Remaster)
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (2004 Digital Remaster): I. Tempo molto moderato, quasi adagio
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (2004 Digital Remaster): II. Allegro molto vivace
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (2004 Digital Remaster): III. Il tempo largo
Symphony No. 4 in A minor Op. 63 (2004 Digital Remaster): IV. Allegro
Tristan und Isolde (2004 Digital Remaster): Death of Isolde
Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 in C sharp minor (2004 Digital Remaster)
Schwanda the Bagpiper (2004 Digital Remaster): Polka
España (2004 Digital Remaster)
Joyeuse marche (2004 Digital Remaster)
Les contes d'Hoffmann (2004 Digital Remaster): Barcarolle

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