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Brahms: The Symphonies [DVD Video]


Price: $39.98 & FREE Shipping. Details
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$39.98 & FREE Shipping. Details Only 3 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Brahms: The Symphonies [DVD Video] + Beethoven - The Symphonies Boxset / Herbert von Karajan, Gundula Janowitz, Christa Ludwig, Jess Thomas, Walter Berry, Berlin Philharmoniker + Tchaikovsky: Symphonies 4, 5 & 6
Price for all three: $158.84

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Maestro Herbert von Karajan leads the Berlin Philharmonic in a live performance from 1973 of all 4 Brahms Symphonies.

Review

"Probably the world's best-known conductor and one of the most powerful figures in classical music [...] in the topmost ranks of 20th-century conductors." -- New York Times

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Unknown
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: March 11, 2008
  • Run Time: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XVT7SM
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,803 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
83%
4 star
8%
3 star
0%
2 star
8%
1 star
0%
See all 12 customer reviews
He had a love of technology - he almost went into engineering.
Joe
Karajan conducts them with eyes closed, often intently enraptured by the music, smiling occasionally when a passage or solo sounds just right to his ear.
Michael Birman
I'm very pleased to have the DVD recording of Karajan's Brahms cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic from the 1970s.
Cyril Ignatius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

80 of 80 people found the following review helpful By Michael Birman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2008
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I loved the Brahms symphonies conducted by Leonard Bernstein that were released several months ago on DVD by DGG. In my review, I noted that Bernstein used extremely broad tempos, often making Brahms sound more like Mahler. One gets used to those Adagio speed slow movements because Bernstein makes them sound so right, wringing pure emotion from them as only he could. Now DGG offers us the anti-Bernstein in Herbert von Karajan's splendid set of Brahms symphonies recorded in 1973. Karajan conducts them with eyes closed, often intently enraptured by the music, smiling occasionally when a passage or solo sounds just right to his ear. He conducts Brahms with a greater sense of urgency than does Bernstein: the First symphony is 11 minutes shorter as conducted by Karajan! Nothing is rushed but there is what can only be described as emotional compression, an intensity of expression that sounds quicker than Bernstein's performances.

By comparing these different visions of Brahm's great symphonies, one is confronted by the rather stark differences between these two great conductors. Bernstein inhabits these symphonies as a sort of surrogate composer, making them his own, adopting a very personal mode of expression, channeling Brahms as if the symphonies were part of a musical seance on a rainy afternoon. Karajan conducts them as if he were a spectator at a concert and this was how he most enjoyed hearing them played. This emotional distancing makes sense, in fact it is most helpful, because Brahms is a Romantic composer by way of temporal contingency and probably not by inclination. In fact, Brahms is a profoundly Classical composer, his closest antecedent being Mozart, with whom Brahms shares a deep expressive ambiguity and a disinclination to wallow in strong emotional outbursts.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Peter M. Donnelly on April 28, 2008
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Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic in Brahms was always special. Even his final years produced an excellent recording of the Violin Concerto with his protege Ann Sophie Mutter. These performances from the 1970s provide that unique dark and deep Berlin string sound and brilliant golden brass so suited to bringing out the best in this composer's unique sound world. The performances are classically direct with plenty of passion. Karajan always excelled in Nos 1 and 2. He, like many conductors including Toscanini, had difficulty in getting No 3 just right. This performance is certainly his best attempt. No 4 is also excellent.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Nelson Nisenbaum on February 13, 2009
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This box contains everything you need to know about BRAHMS'S Symphonies and about excellence on interpretation. Besides the fact that Karajan's conducting technique is not a full example of ellegance on this matter, the result is astonishing, at least, and give us clearly the idea of the "german" way to play Brahms. Berlin Phil. does the rest, giving us a full experience of a perfect orchestra.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ClassicalFan on December 19, 2010
After almost 40 years these DVDs are still unsurpassed in my opinion. Yesterday I watched Simon Rattle's Brahms cycle through BP digital (virtual) concert hall and I did not enjoy those nearly as much as I enjoy these performances. Karajan has an iron grip and looks very determined in what he wants. Berlin Phil musicians are as passionate and precise as they can be. These are NOT live performances. Nevertheless, they are played through and not copied and pasted. Watching these DVDs shows me why Berlin Phil and Karajan relationship was so special and unique.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jmam on September 5, 2011
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Karajan, who is not really German but is of Greek origin but grew up in Germany, did a superior job in conducting these Brahms symphonies. He makes the symphonies sound fascinating, and it is remarkable how clearly he brings out the individual voices of the instruments. The lighting effect of the concert filmed with 35 mm. film is mesmerizing as well. Karajan brings out the dramatic intensity of the Brahms symphonies, which is absolutely vital for any Brahms interpretation. Brahms' music is not so much an intellectual exercise but rather a cry for help by the composer, who was no doubt exasperated at his own sexual frustrations as well as at the jingoistic follies of mankind. This is why, for example, Karajan's conducting is in my view better than that of the Brahms conducting of the symphonies on DVD by the conductor Semyon Bychkov. The Bychkov interpretation is excellent but it seems too "sedated" and "academic" to me. Karajan also does an excellent job in conducting the first movement of the third symphony. This movement is very difficult for any conductor to conduct simply because it might not be well balanced in the way that Brahms orchestrated it. The changes of emotion of the piece are perhaps too sudden and capricious, and the orchestration does not quite balance out all the timbres; the movement itself may lack complete unity of esthetic form. It is therefore up to the conductor to get its nuances just right to make it sound dramatic and to make it sound as if it is not disintegrating conceptually or dramatically. Karajan does an excellent job here. He knew what he was doing.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Joe on September 15, 2008
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What can one say? Von Karjan was one of the two or three greatest conductors of the twentieth century - only Toscanini and Bernstein come to mind as one who could challenge him. Like every other von Karajan recording (and I have most of them), he shows control and mastery of the music. I enjoyed the Brahms as I have enjoyed every other von Karajan recording - which is immensly. You may disagree with some nuance in his performance, but he cannot be ignored. You don't have to watch him to enjoy his performances, but the DVD brings you into the hall with him.

I can recall in 1959 or 1960 reading a letter to an editor of a music magazine complaining that von Karajan had run through more fast sports cars, more fast boats, and more (I won't say fast here) women than all other world-class conductors put together. The writer left out planes - von Karjan owned and piloted his own jet. He had a love of technology - he almost went into engineering. Perhaps all of that aided his mastery of the complications of scores of Bruckner and Brahms (to mention two composers ofter put up against each other by their enthusiasts) to Mozart, Tchaikovsky (I wish he had recorded the First Symphony) to more modern composers.
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Brahms: The Symphonies [DVD Video]
This item: Brahms: The Symphonies [DVD Video]
Price: $39.98
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