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Bruckner: Symphony No. 8 (DG The Originals)

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (3 Sept. 2012)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B008PC1GF8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 55,898 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 1. Allegro moderato
  2. 2. Scherzo: Allegro moderato
  3. 3. Adagio: Feierlich langsam; doch nicht schleppend
  4. 4. Finale: Feierlich, nicht schnell

Product description

KARAJAN HERBERT VON / WIENER P

Customer Reviews

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Not always the biggest fan of Karajan post 1970 when his conducting was more about himself than the composer and the sound world that he imposed on the BPO which has spoiled many a recording. HVK pre 1970 or so was a far better conductor and so was the the sound of the BPO (See Karajan 1963 Beethoven cycle for evidence) He also ruined many a recording by his fascination with recording many of his projects.

Towards the end of his controversial career he returned to the VPO and made a number of recordings of which this is one and where is failings with the BPO are left behind him and instead we get the composer's music rather than Karajan. This is a simply magnificent performance of this greatly romantic symphony which is lovingly conducted without getting in the way of the music. Other reviewers have gone into great details so I will refrain except to see although Karajan recorded this symphony many times but this is his masterpiece. It makes one regret that he did not have the foresight to stop being a egotist in his BPO days and just let the music speak. How many more very special recordings, like this one, would have been committed to tape? HIs own legacy would have been served better as well. Special mention of the VPO for sheer musicality and beauty of tone - awe inspiring! The same stunning playing is also bestowed on HVK's last recording the Bruckner 7.

Finally I had the original 2 disc issue of this recording where the digital sound was very harsh and unyielding. I have now bought the single disc remastered version and the difference in sound is a revelation. The new remastered version is warm, spacious and in ever way one of the finest recordings (sound wise at least) that the VPO have put on disc.

IF you want to Brucker 8 to satisfy look no further than this one.
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I have grown into Karajan's recorded performances over the years, having deemed them a bit too lush, smooth, and possibly even superficial at times. That was a misjudgment. Neither he nor the VPO got where they are today by being superficial.
This great work, rated by many as the greatest in the romantic classical repertoire, cannot be limited by just one interpretation; I have many, but this ranks among the best.
There is dynamism, thoughtfulness, occasional restraint, and even some humility in this performance, all of which are commendable: this is a lily which needs no gilding.
The orchestra plays with the cohesion and involvement of a string quartet: every entry is synchronous, every phrase is lovingly crafted, but the expressiveness appears to come from the music itself, from the hand of the composer, rather than the expertise of the players or the conductor.
Herein lies the "Wow" factor.
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If I read about performances of this symphony, words like monumental keep cropping up - but this is much more than a symphonic cathedral or anything like it. I'm no musical expert, and I wouldn't dream of attempting to criticize anyone's performance. I chose this recording on the basis of how I've come to appreciate and above all ENJOY Karajan's interpretations over the years (most of all in the symphonic poems of Richard Strauss, along with those,of Kempe), and I enjoy this performance by a great orchestra working with a great Bruckner interpreter. The performance drives on throughout, and the recording is top-class; thoroughly enjoyable and a fine memory of HvK in his late years.
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Amazing performance which sounds very slightly better in this reissue than on my original CDs. I have been comparing it with the Wand 8th with the BPO which is a perhaps clearer recording still. Although Wand is often close to Karajan, he does not quite sweep you to the end with the confidence that Karajan does, right down to the timing of the final chords. With Karajan it is orgasmic, but Wand seems to hold back just a little and the ending, though fine on its own, does not quite match Karajan's. It was sad how the critics reviled K. after his death. He was a great conductor of the Romantics - his Bruckner, Mahler, Tchaikovsky and Debussy were magical at their best as was his Sibelius and Shostakovich. (I was less convinced by his Beethoven and Brahms.) He had the ability to usually find the right tempo and more or less stick to it, yet he never sounded rigid, like so many modern performances. I generally like Jochum in Bruckner but not in this particular symphony. This recording should probably be in everyone's collection.
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By Ralph Moore TOP 50 REVIEWER on 2 July 2013
Format: Audio CD
Not all of Karajan's almost obsessive re-makes are by any means an improvement on what came before but this, his penultimate Bruckner recording from November 1988 (the Seventh was recorded in April 1989) and one of his last studio recordings before his death in July of the following year, is undoubtedly one of his greatest.

Indeed, some would call this the greatest recording of the greatest symphony by the greatest conductor and I'm not going to bother to debate that highly contentious claim; I would merely say that it represents a distillation of everything both the composer and Karajan were trying to achieve, and is one of the most profoundly moving and spiritually uplifting recordings in the entire canon.

First, a few canards to dispose of. The sound is superb; not at all typical of the thin, glassy, screechy early digital recordings which too often appeared in the 80's but is rather rich, warm and full with a remarkably good combination of balance, transparency and warmth. The virtuosity of different sections of the VPO emerges clearly, especially the Wagner tubas and the trumpets and horns combined at the end of the first movement. The dynamic range is ideal; pianissimi whisper and fortissimo tutti thunder without distortion.

Nor is this by any means an especially slow or indeed in the least lethargic account. True, Karajan is not as quick as the nervy, Romantic Furtwängler (who uses his own edition of the 1892 first performance score) in 1944 with the VPO, or Maazel (who uses the shorter Nowak edition, in any case) with the BPO in 1989.
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