Made after his official resignation from the Berlin Phil and six months before his death, this last recording is likely - at least in part - reflective of Karajan's mental tossing and turning before he died. We could gather that he felt quite wronged, and wanted to express forgiveness then to bid the world a farewell.
Walter Gieseking is joined by stellar wind players, including the great hornist Dennis Brain; and the Quintets have a gleaming, robust quality that make them irresistible. They were recorded in the mid- 1950s, a time when Gieseking sometimes operated on automatic pilot, but here he sounds involved and fluent; the keyboard part played with aristocratic grace and, where appropriate, sparkling high spirits. The filler is one of Herbert von Karajan's few successful Mozart recordings, aided immeasurably by the expert first-desk soloists of the Philharmonia.
5 April 2008 marks the 100th anniversary of the birth of Herbert von Karajan, the legendary Austrian-born conductor who achieved a position of musical supremacy as director of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra that made him one of the most famous and celebrated conductors of the second half of the twentieth century. While the majority of his symphonic recordings were made for Deutsche Grammophon, von Karajan also recorded for Decca and EMI during the 1950s and 1960s. This set is reissued to mark this momentous anniversary and contains all of his orchestral recordings made with the Vienna Philharmonic for Decca during the late 1950s/early 1960s.