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Brahms - Symphonies 2 & 3

Herbert von Karajan Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 10.26 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Herbert von Karajan – A Chronology
1908 Born in Salzburg on April 5. The Karajan family originally came from Macedonia in Northern Greece and bore the name Karajannis. Herbert von Karajan’s great-great-grand¬father emigrated to Saxony but eventually settled as a merchant in Vienna. For his services in the furtherance of trade and industry, Frederick Augustus, Elector of ... Read more in Amazon's Herbert von Karajan Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Brahms - Symphonies 2 & 3 + Brahms: Symphony No. 1
Price For Both: 25.21

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  • Brahms: Symphony No. 1 14.95

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Johannes Brahms
  • Audio CD (9 Nov 1989)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GBU
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,206 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73 - 1. Allegro non troppoBerliner Philharmoniker15:411.89  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73 - 2. Adagio non troppo - L'istesso tempo, ma graziosoBerliner Philharmoniker10:551.49  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73 - 3. Allegretto grazioso ( Quasi andantino) - Presto ma non assaiBerliner Philharmoniker 5:230.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Brahms: Symphony No.2 in D, Op.73 - 4. Allegro con spiritoBerliner Philharmoniker 9:040.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 - 1. Allegro con brio - Un poco sostenuto - Tempo IBerliner Philharmoniker 9:450.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 - 2. AndanteBerliner Philharmoniker 7:430.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Brahms: Symphony No.3 In F, Op.90 - 3. Poco allegrettoBerliner Philharmoniker 5:560.79  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Brahms: Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90 - 4. AllegroBerliner Philharmoniker 8:490.79  Buy MP3 

Product Description

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brahms from Karajan's Glory Decade: the 1960s 2 Oct 2006
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This coupling of Symphonies 2 & 3 from 1964 is wholly recommendable - the only caviat being Karajan's refusal to take the repeat in the Third's first movement. Otherwise, better sound than his 1970s efforts and better interpretatively than the ones from the 80s. Karajan remains the most consistently recommendable conductor of Nineteenth century symphonic music on CD.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great performances deserving better sound 21 May 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Beguiled by the opportunity to purchase a CD of DGG Privilege provenance for a mere 39p (used, good condition), and not only that but two Brahms symphonies played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan - and a five star review on Amazon - well, I fell for it.

I do not regret the purchase in the sense that it was not good value: it clearly was; nor that it is not great music: of course it is; and very satisfying performances they are too. It's just that they are from 1964, and though digitally remastered (not sure when) they bear the hallmarks of their age: an age when stereo was a novelty, when the average middle class family aspired to a radiogram and no more, and when recording standards were variable to say the least.

The opening screechings from the first violins in the 3rd symphony are an assault on the ear when played through the kind of set-up we regard as commonplace these days, which does not need invasive tweaking in the studio.

Through my Tannoy Mercurys, which are admittedly on the brighter side of flat, these performances suffer greatly from shrill edginess. This is less noticeable on my other outfit which smooths things out a bit, but the sound engineer does seem to have tweaked the first violins to an unfeasible degree in terms of relative orchestral prominence: the poor second fiddles really are playing second fiddle, and the violas are just a mess. The woodwind section is OK, but the dynamic range (quiet to loud) of the orchestra seems to have been augmented by the digitalisation, so that crescendi become intolerably and unrealistically loud, while the listener strains to pick out the detail in the quieter passages.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan in Brahms--early or late? 2 Nov 2005
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format:Audio CD
Note: I think that the review below may still be useful, but DG has remastered and reissued this CD in much better sound, as of Jan. 2008)

Contrary to the Amazon reviewer's nonsense, Karajan was the pre-eminent Brahms conductor of the postwar era, rivaled only by Klemperer and perhaps Celibidache or late Bernstein. Here we have half of his 1963- 1964 cycle at budget price (though not remastered, I assume) to compare with his digital cycle from the late Eighties. Since both the Second and Third Sym. are involved, I'll be briefer than when I compared the First and Fourth, each given its own disc.

Sound: Judging from their beautifully remastered version of the First from 1964, DG could have done wonders with the Second and Third, too. But they didn't. Despite the natural perpective from just a bit closer than mid-hall, the upper strings are scratchy and shrill at higher volumes. The later digital sonics are much warmer, closer miked, and with greater impact. If only the earlier recording didn't sound so rackety.

Tempos: Karajan knew what he wanted in Brahms and didn't tend to change his interpretations. Timings in the Second Sym. are nearly identical early and late, though Karajan is a minute faster in the second movement later on--this is characteristic of him. In the Third he adheres closely to the same tempos set in 1964. Neither is on the slow side by comparison to most other conductors.

Interpretation: Despite his reputation for becoming sleek and glib in late life, Karajan was a towering Brahms conductor; if anything, he wanted more urgency and intensity later in life. His propulsive view of Brahms is the opposite of Furtwangler's highly personal and much slower style. In 1964 Karajan conducted a fine Second, but his 1986 reading blazes brighter and higher: it's one of the absolute best on record, full of energy and orchestral magnificence. Quite impressive in a symphony where too many conductors dawdle nostalgically.

I don't hear a big difference between the 1964 Third and its digital follow-up in 1988, a year before Karajan's death. It's generally agreed that this was the strongest of Karajan's Brahms, and both readings are passionate, huge in scale, propulsive, and incredibly exciting. There's nothing to touch them, really, and only the better sonics from 1988, plus a tuoch more urgency, gives it the nod.

Overall, this is a great CD that no other Brahms conductor can match in terms of intensity except Toscanini and in terms of emotional involvement except Furtwangler. It's a shame that DG hasn't done the right thing and given these performances the remastering they deserve. (And a further shame that the Amazon reviewer is so galling in his dismissal of profound music-making.)
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Karajan: 5 stars; Remastering: 1 star 3 Aug 2003
By The Man in the Hathaway Shirt - Published on
Format:Audio CD
First of all, ignore Hurwitz (always a good idea in any case). This is not Herbie's last cycle (nor is his last cycle, when Herbie was half deaf and half dead, his best). Nor is it, as some reviewers below have said, his first. (That's on EMI.) As far as I can tell, this his second, though his first for DG. This is one of my very favorite recordings of No. 2 out there. Karajan is often accused of being too soft-edged and thick with the strings, but this is, to my ears, just what the doctor ordered for the Second, and those glorious Berlin strings shine. (Somehow British or American or Russian ochestras can't compete in this kind of music.) Karajan has a great sense of the architecture of this music; be forwarned he does not take repeats, but I don't care, I don't feel it diminishes this performance. In fact, Brahms himself, near the end of his life, begged a conductor to omit the repeats in a performance of the second symphony. The conductor was surprised, because at the premiere Brahms had taken them all. Brahms supposedly replied, "No one knew the tunes then."

But we all know the tunes now. And what glorious tunes they are. Some conductors almost seem embarrassed to take the Big Themes in all their glory, as though this symphony is too naive or something. Well, that was the essence of Brahms--a crotchety old guy who was really a big softie at heart. And that heart is on his sleeve in this work. The Finale is the most exuberant, thrilling reading I've ever heard (save for another, earlier Karajan perfomrnace, on EMI.) The energy is exhilerating; this is Brahms in love with the world.

The 3rd symphony is less successful, but that's not surprising. There are few recordings in existence where the conductor seems to know what to do with this enigmatic work. Even the great Furtwangler couldn't seem to decide if this is an intimate or thunderous work. The only conductor who has gotten this just right of all the recordings I've heard (Jochum, Solti, Barenboim, Masur, Furtwangler, Karajan, Bernstein, Mengelberg) is Mravinsky, with the former Leningrad Philharmonic, on BMG/Melodiya. Yet, I can't put into words *why* that recording works so well, so I've yet to review it.

Now for the bad news. The sound on this issue is awful--fuzzy and distant. I used to have this on scratchy used vinyl (original issue) and, pops and clicks aside, that sounded better than this CD, so I tried to ignore the pops and listened to the vinyl rather than this CD. But there is hope! There's a French version of this very same pairing that has excellent sound. It comes in a yellow cardboard sleeve and the notes are entirely in French. And the good news is Amazon is now carrying it--for a long while it didn't. Hear the same music that's here, only remastered *properly.* I've reviewed that better set elsewhere, so if you think you're interested, just go to "See all of my review" and search for it. Happy listening.
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the Best ever committed to record. 25 May 2004
By David Lee - Published on
Format:Audio CD
I have so long tired of these works...they are overdone, overplayed and in many ways become a dull and lackluster experience to any classical listening/musician. However, Karajan has an approach which some may considered controlled yet he allows phrases to breathe and in many ways emote which conductors like Szell can only dream of touching in this repetoire.
Proof is in the Second symphony at the end towards the coda(First movement). The warmth of playing coupled with such lack of affectation as well as the tremendous feeling of flow of the coda IS the most satifying ever put to disc ever. Karajan in Brahms is truly a giant and stands way above any other conductor of the 20th Century.
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