The Vienna Philharmonic is one of the world's leading recording orchestras. Ever since its very first recording of Beethoven's 6th Symphony under Franz Schalk in 1928, work in the studio has taken up a considerable part of its "free time", which is, on account of its duties at the Vienna State Opera, in any case very limited. There are not many major 20th-century conductors, many important works of the operatic and concert repertory, or indeed many important labels that do not figure in its large and comprehensive disco-graphy.
Hollow pathos is not his thing. From an artist like Mariss Jansons Friedrich Schiller’s Ode: “An die Freude” must receive a far deeper significance, which also fully encompasses the doubt and profound hope embodied in this text. And thus, in Jansons’s recording of the Ninth Symphony, the choral finale does not degenerate to mere superficial orgy of jubilation, but rather becomes a delicately balanced, wisely developed drama. On October 27, 2007, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks played Beethoven’s Ninth in the presence of the Pope in the Vatican. The recording of this memorable concert is now being released in the highest audiophile recording quality as a multi-channel SACD.
Emerging from a dark depression, Beethoven chose art rather than death, thus embracing a notion of destiny and heroism which links him to heroes of the past - and of his present.The Eroica Symphony, dedicated initially to Napoleon, and ultimately 'to the memory of a great man', was to prompt contemporary commentators to seek out interpretations in the Iliad.
…got this for the Brahms, which is at best a thoroughly decent performance, nothing more - but the highlight is the excellent Beethoven. The ratings reflect the dichotomy of the two performances and their sonics, an average of 4 for sound seems fair - but the Beethoven warrants a 5 for performance.
Jubilee Concert: 100 Years of Berliner Philharmoniker, April 30th, 1982
The performance itself ? Nothing short of revelatory. You are not likely to see or hear a reading of the tragic slow movement which digs as deeply as this one. Karajan and his orchestra present a very profound experience ; the visual aspect of the performance helps us to see the emotion being poured into this sublime movement, and the intense response from the players. The first movement doesn't exactly ignite initially, but it soon gathers steam, and the Karajan charisma settles in for a coda which blazes its way to the final chords. The third and fourth movements are beautifully played, too. - from Amazon.com
The sound and picture on these DVDs are excellent; the sound is truly comparable to a well-recorded CD. The soundtrack is available both in stereo and also an excellent 5.1 Dolby mix. The disks have a set of program notes and a biography of von Karajan.