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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sumptous playing
Karajan and Le Sacre: sounds very diferrent, doesn't it? But, you can believe me, it is definitely "not" dissapointing. If you are an "objective" listener, you will be happy with that Le Sacre version.

First of all, I should say, this Le Sacre is the famous 1964 recording, not from 1977, which is better for sound quality, but more steady, dignified reading, not...
Published on 27 Jan 2009 by Sungu Okan

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars tracks incomplete
Nothing wrong with the music but the tracks cut out before the end of each one so I have to say I am not satisfied with the product.
Published 7 months ago by Penelope Nicholson


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sumptous playing, 27 Jan 2009
By 
Sungu Okan (Istanbul, Istanbul Turkey) - See all my reviews
Karajan and Le Sacre: sounds very diferrent, doesn't it? But, you can believe me, it is definitely "not" dissapointing. If you are an "objective" listener, you will be happy with that Le Sacre version.

First of all, I should say, this Le Sacre is the famous 1964 recording, not from 1977, which is better for sound quality, but more steady, dignified reading, not so risky.

Igor Stravinsky, who recorded the work himself in Sony, criticized that recording as "a pat savage more than real one". Especially, he disliked the tempo of "Ritual of Ancestors", he described it as "tempo di hoochie-koochie"! Well, as we know, Stravinsky hated Romanticisim in music, he was clearly analytic-musician. And Karajan is totally opposite of him! And so, this is why the composer wasn't like that reading. However, everybody doesn't agree the critic of Stravinsky. In the other hand, the cult pianist Glenn Gould, who very much liked that performance, said "the most imaginative and, in a purely compartmentalized sense, inspired realization".

So, when I get this CD, I was confused, but after listening, I really feel respectfully to Karajan's vision. First of all, Berliner Philharmoniker show a truly virtuosic playing. Very harmonious woodwinds, first class brass, very distinct percussion, full of warm strings. They can handle the difficulties, complexities of the score. By the way, there is a risk feeling, which it makes the music more vivid, flamboyant. just check the "Sacrifical Dance", in the last moments, your heart-beats will get faster, you can trust me. Yes, this is sophisticated, but it is a different aspect and it is worth to give a chance of course.

By the way, there is a great performance of a Bartok masterpiece, Concerto for Orchestra, which sounds so rich in that recording.

Highly recommended.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan Had Every Right To Do It His Way, 23 Sep 2010
By 
Philoctetes (England) - See all my reviews
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Gould was right and Stravinsky was just afraid of being upstaged (he had his own, superlative new recording to promote). Karajan's Rite Of Spring is a sacrifice conducted in fin de siecle Vienna or some such decadent place. It is cruel and unyielding, but also sly and superficially charming, sensuous. Much like I imagine - not having yet heard it - his Elektra must have sounded in the theatre. You must have Stravinsky's, or Gergiev's, but don't miss this. It is really sleazy, vividly recorded.

The Bartok is similarly marvellous and the best of the three concertos by HvK - wave away the earlier EMi efforts, this is the bees knees. More proof that you don't have to be Hungarian or Russian to succeed.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb Rite - The Bartok slightly misses the mark, 30 July 2013
By 
Bacchus (Greater London - Surrey) - See all my reviews
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This is a fantastic coupling of two of the 20th Century's finest orchestral showpieces played by a stunning orchestra and conductor at their 1960s peak. I have enjoyed both but to my surprise enjoyed the Stravinsky more than the Bartok.

Stravinsky was famously sniffy about Karajan's recording. I don't recall why exactly but having read the article in which he rubbished it, he didn't have much time for Bernstein or Solti in this work either. I think it was that he perceived the Berlin Philharmonic to be a Germanic orchestra who were not attuned to the kind of savage balletic work he had conceived. Karajan has explained his aesthetic simply, i.e. that every player ensures that he plays every note to its full value. This performance is as exciting as any but additionally, it is also the most beautiful sounding rendition I have ever heard. While for me it won't displace other fine performances I have heard, I can honestly say that I really enjoyed listening to it and recommend it very highly.

I find it slightly harder to review the Bartok. This would seem on the face of it to be work in which Karajan would excel. He had already recorded it in the 1950s with the Philharmonia and he re-recorded in in the 1970s. It is a showpiece that Bartok wrote in his mature years to display the virtuosity of the Boston Symphony Orchesta and showed how he had completely subsumed the folk idioms of his native Hungary into his compositional style.

For some reason, I did not think that Karajan completely managed to convey everything required. It is of course beautifully played and lovely to hear; its just that I kept feeling that something was missing. I played it twice and both times, I enjoyed a lush Straussian performance but wasn't particularly moved or excited.

Just to be sure it wasn't me (or the music), I looked for another recording in my collection. In order to make a valid comparison, I thought I would avoid recent recordings or ones made by Hungarian conductors (I don't think a conductor has an automatic authority with music of his own country. I opted for Stokowski's Houston Symphony Orchestra recording from the 1960s. This recording had the qualities missing from Karajan's recording. There is more of the folk music feeling that eludes Karajan and in the Game of Two Couples movement, I feel there is greater individuality in the orchestral solo and duet passages. These are, for me important elements in this work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important recording finally restored to its rightful position as top recommendation-and in glorious sound belying its age!, 26 Feb 2013
By 
D. S. CROWE "Music Lover" (UK) - See all my reviews
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Although the Bartok has been released previously on Galleria and on The Originals series, astonishingly this is the first CD release for the 1964 Rite of Spring recording since a coupling in the 80's on DG Privilege, for which information I am grateful to correspondent " Envoi"-DG subsequently released the later 1977 version, with the 1964 recording being unavailable for some 25 years.
While dealing with astonishment, while in 2013 the Rite is a stable repertoire piece of more or less every orchestra, in 1964 it was still regarded as a challenging piece for both orchestras and audiences alike, even 50 years after its turbulent premiere. Only the most virtuoso orchestras undertook it, and when the Paris Conservatoire Orchestra recorded it with Pierre Monteux, the playing was ragged and frequently off pitch, though the performance was electrifying. Of course, one thinks immediately that the BPO would have no problems, but this was far from the case. This recording was released to almost as much furore as that of the premiere, with well documented tales of Karajan's struggle with the orchestra in rehearsal. In 1964, the BPO had never played the work, and as many of the orchestra members were pre-war veterans, there was a great deal of resistance to the piece among them in particular-they didn't like it and felt it was a contemptible piece. Younger members were enthused, but the disharmony had to be overcome before a note was performed. Karajan was of course THE conductor to achieve this, but one of the after effects was that it gave more impetus to Karajan's project of replacing the older players with those more attuned to his ethos, and by 1970 the Rite was a showcase piece for the BPO which they took on tour-as can be heard in the dazzlingly brilliant live recording from the RFH on Testament.
The furore was stoked by comments from Stravinsky and his mouthpiece (cat's-paw?) Robert Craft who roundly condemned the performance for having slack rhythm, lack of primitive excitement and being too "beautified"-like souped up Rimsky! Karajan's structure was criticised for being too organic, smoothing out the episodic nature of the work, to which Karajan untypically took to print to point out that the work was in fact a symphony, whether Stravinsky had intended that or not! More furores!! Support for Karajan came from an unwitting and unlikely source. Leonard Bernstein gave a series of 3 performances in London filmed for TV and preceded by a talk by Bernstein for each performance. The series was entitled "Landmark Symphonies of the "20th Century" and Bernstein chose Sibelius 5, Shostakovich 5, and-you guessed it-the Rite of Spring!
The result of this controversy-for the recording had as many admirers as detractors- was that the Karajan LP became one of DGG's best sellers and actually outsold Stravinsky's own 80th Birthday recording, and with full justification, for to this day I judge it to be the finest recorded performance bar none. By playing the work "straight", emphasising the beauty, the rich palette and diffuse textures within in the framework of his renowned long line approach, Karajan succeeds in making this at once both the most beautiful performance and the most awful, in the true sense of the word. Textures are blended-the trumpet calls in the opening do not override the orchestra but blend in to the beautiful sound picture, here so reminiscent of Ravel, the tam- tam is audible but integrated, the strings play the notes through, there is little or no sharp stopping. It is also tremendously exciting, for Karajan is no slouch in this work.
The recording was always superb, produced by the legendary team of Hans Weber and Gunter Hermanns in the glorious acoustic of the Jesus Christus Kirche, and 24 Bit the re mastering does it full justice, with the results totally belying the age of the recording. When the basses enter for example, the floor vibrated and my hair stood on end. This is one of the great recordings of any era, with a significance that cannot be understated and it is just wonderful to hear it again in such resplendent sound. The 1977 recording from the Philharmonie is also very fine, but lacks the poise and beauty of this version-I know it seems strange to be referring to beauty in this work, but that's what this recording gives us-the work in its "awful beauty".
The Bartok, recorded in 1966 is every bit as successful, with Karajan eschewing obvious Hungarian quirks and treating it as a nostalgic reflection on a passed era. Even the 3rd movement in which Bartok savaged the Shostakovich Seventh emerges more as an affectionate send-up. The whole work is extraordinarily beautiful-that word again-and this performance is most likely to be enjoyed by those who do not respond to Bartok normally, as well to his avid admirers. This is the same re-mastering as on the previous release, and it is superb. Stars are unlimited-but a word of warning. This disc appears to have been separated from a 10 disc box set, and it is unclear as to whether it should be available as a separate issue-I hope that it is-so I advise purchase as soon as possible!! The highest possible recommendation. Stewart Crowe.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Karajan's early Rite., 8 May 2014
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No complaints here about Karajan's 1964 Rite of Spring. Vintage DG sound and a fairly measured performance make for a enjoyable recording. Add to this the Bartok Concerto released in 1966 and you have a winning CD.
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3.0 out of 5 stars tracks incomplete, 26 April 2014
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This review is from: Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra (MP3 Download)
Nothing wrong with the music but the tracks cut out before the end of each one so I have to say I am not satisfied with the product.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Well, it's Karajan!, 8 Nov 2013
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I definitely expected this version to be much less dynamic, more Straussian and late 19th century style as with most of Karajan's interpretation, so on that level it's a good recording, although it still lacks a bit of "Oomph" (best ones have so far been Abbado with LSO and Rattle with BPO). However, what I did not expect at all, was a mistake! Now this mistake has caused me to believe that it's a live recording as it is definitely not of the recording standards of the BPO to have mistakes in them (still very surprising for a live recording). The mistake i speak of is a dodgy trumpet going about a semitone too high during the climax for full orchestra in the section called "Procession of the Sage" in Part 1 of the piece. I think even the track preview (which I really should've checked) actually contains this mistake, so just be careful in that aspect. Still a good recording though, with its Karajan style conducting etc.
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Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra
Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring / Bartók: Concerto for Orchestra by Berliner Philharmoniker and Herbert von Karajan
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