on 27 January 2009
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.