I thoroughly enjoyed the second CD with the final part of Symphony number 5 and the whole of the Pathetique. As far as I was concerned Symphony number 4 had less to offer, and I didn't particularly want it.
A fine performance nevertheless, and it will be played over many times by me
Karajan and the Berlin Phil at their absolute best. The fourth movement of the 5th Symphony alone makes this recording worth buying. It's like having fireworks going off in my ears: can't stop playing it. Sitting here with a stupid grin on my face and loving, loving, loving it. God this is good!!
Everyone trumpets the glories of the 1976 Herbie / BPO performance but the Minority Report, penned by yours truly, says the following: this September 1971 recording of Six is the best on the market. One immense advantage it enjoys over 1976 is the acoustic itself: it was recorded in the Jesus Christus Church rather than the dreaded Philharmonie; there is more air around the orchestra; and how well they play and staggeringly so. Oh, that's right: it comes with 4 and 5, which are lesser symphonies in every way. For what they're worth, they are exceedingly well played. But treat them as entrees to the main course of darkness.
There is a saying: anyone can stand on the edge of the Abyss and summon the spirits but will they come? In this performance of the Pathetique, they do: a dark plutonic god arises in development section of the first movement - a Devourer of Colour and Life. It is no wonder that one of Karajan's daughters once thought her father would die onstage during such a performance. Indeed, if you've experienced grief, avoid this performance: it will enviscerate you further. You do not need it. I jest not.
From the Apocalypse of the First Movement to the Requiem in the last, this performance is equal to the score itself. This is not normal music making: it's a one-way ticket to the Underworld, the abode of Shades and irreparable loss.
A rousing performance of these three symphonies, The Berlin Philnarmonic, under the baton of Herbert von Karajan. Was purchased under the offer of two CD's for £9.00. This double CD counted as one CD! A bargain not to be missed.