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Ravel: Bolero; Debussy, Mussorgsky / Karajan, Berlin Po


Release Date: 02/13/1996 
Label:  Dg The Originals Catalog #: 447426   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Claude DebussyModest MussorgskyMaurice Ravel
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Here are examples of 'The Karajan Effect' at its most positive, and sounding, in these new transfers, fractionally more open, focused and fresh than before, with the billowing bass moderated and the dynamic range extended. Along with Karajan's own imaginative deployment of orchestral colour (to take one example: the extra gong with barely damped striker at the end of Pictures), the Berlin Jesus-Christus Kirche acoustics of these 1964-6 recordings add their own wonderful coloration and atmosphere (dark and cavernous at appropriate moments in Pictures). The 1980s Berlin Philharmonic DG remakes (in their remastered 'Karajan Gold' format) offer something closer to concert-hall reality (a cleaner more neutral sound) but, on the whole, the Read more imaginative daring and the excited discovery of new realms of creative and technical possibility are missing; certainly the 1980s performances are less given to spontaneous ignition.

For those unfamiliar with these 1960s accounts, Bolero is slow and steady (but Karajan risks floating the early solos), and Pictures is broader and grander than Karajan's previous and subsequent recordings (and most others). But how does one do justice to this La mer in a single sentence? Well, you can either be seduced by some of the most sheerly beautiful orchestral sound ever recorded, or appreciate it for its wide-ranging imagery and its properly mobile pacing; but whichever way you look at it, it is one of the great recorded La mers and one of the classics of the gramophone.

-- John Steane, Gramophone [12/1995]
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Works on This Recording

1.
La mer by Claude Debussy
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1905; France 
Date of Recording: 03/1964 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 22 Minutes 38 Secs. 
2.
Pictures at an Exhibition for Orchestra (orchestrated by Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1874/1922; Russia 
Date of Recording: 03/1966 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin  
Length: 35 Minutes 49 Secs. 
3.
Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 
Date of Recording: 11/1965 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, Berlin 
Length: 16 Minutes 8 Secs. 

Sound Samples

La Mer: 1. From Dawn till Noon on the Sea (De l'aube à midi sur la mer)
La Mer: 2. Play of the Waves (Jeux de vagues)
La Mer: 3. Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea (Dialogue du vent et de la mer)
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Gnomus
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Old Castle
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Tuileries Gardens
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Bydlo
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Promenade
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Ballet of the Chickens in Their Shells
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Market-place at Limoges
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Catacombs (Sepulchrum romanum)
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: Cum mortuis in lingua mortua
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Hut on Fowl's Legs (Baba-Yaga)
Pictures at an Exhibition - Orchestrated by Maurice Ravel: The Great Gate of Kiev
Boléro

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