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Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9; Te Deum [DVD Video] (2008)

 NR |  DVD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Bruckner: Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9; Te Deum [DVD Video] + Bruckner: 9 Symphonies [Box Set]
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Product Details

  • Format: Multiple Formats, Classical, Color, NTSC
  • Language: Latin (DTS 5.1), Latin (DTS ES 6.1), Latin (PCM Stereo), Greek (DTS 5.1), Greek (PCM Stereo)
  • Subtitles: Latin, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Deutsche Grammophon
  • DVD Release Date: April 8, 2008
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000YD7S26
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #210,737 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Without a doubt this 1978 film performance rivals his best audio only recordings in control and insight." -- Calgary Herald

Product Description

Indisputably one of the most important conductors of Anton Bruckner, Herbert von Karajan leads the Vienna Philharmonic with his Symphonies Nos. 8 & 9 and Te Deum. In addition to conducting Karajan also serves as director and artistic supervisor. Bruckner's Symphony No. 8, in an early version from 1887, was recorded live in the spring of 1979 at the splendid Baroque monastery church of St. Florian near Linz, where Bruckner spent many years as a student and teacher in his youth. Bruckner himself regarded the Adagio of his 8th Symphony as the greatest movement in any of his symphonies. The work was first performed by the Vienna Philharmonic in December 1892 under the direction of Hans Richter. Bruckner's last, unfinished symphonic masterpiece Symphony No. 9, and Te Deum were captured live from the Musikverein, in Vienna in 1978. Te Deum--one of Bruckner's most striking vocal works includes the superb cast of Anna Tomowa-Sintow, Agnes Baltsa, David Rendall, José van Dam and the Wiener Singverein.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
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This is simply a great DVD - for anyone interested in the music of Anton Bruckner, in the conducting of Herbert von Karajan, and most especially, for anyone interested in the Austrian-German performing tradition in the 20th century.

Taped (not filmed) in front of audiences in 1979 at the Stiftskirche St. Florian, Linz (Symphony No. 8) and 1978 at the Musikverein in Vienna (Symphony No. 9 and the Te Deum), the performances have the visual patina of European television of that era, transporting the viewer back to a particular place and time, especially for anyone who was alive then and remembers it. (By contrast, Deutsche Gramophon's DVDs of the Mahler symphonies, performed much earlier in the 1970s by Leonard Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic, have a cleaner look for having been recorded on film, which was restored for the DVD release.) The sound, however, far from being congested TV audio, is exceptionally spacious and clear, and for the most part, well-defined across the spectrum. And it's enhanced by being able to see one of the world's greatest orchestras execute these richly-textured scores. As of my second viewing I couldn't decide whether it was actually that more acoustic information and detail was available here than in the typical audio-only recording, or if it just seemed that way.

The performance itself is of a kind that cannot be experienced anywhere today. Perfectly controlled and beautifully nuanced, Karajan maintains the famous "line" through the massive structure of the symphonies and the compact, burnished architecture of the Te Deum while wringing astonishing power and intensity from the last works of a composer - and from an orchestra - known for both.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A probing Eighth Symphony, an anguished Ninth April 12, 2008
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I concur with the previous, splendid review. This two DVD set is an important release for capturing von Karajan's brilliant vision of Bruckner's Eighth Symphony, his personal favorite amongst ALL symphonies. I was privileged to attend Karajan's final American performance, and his penultimate anywhere, in February 1989, conducting the Vienna Philharmonic in the Eighth for a flu-ridden Carnegie Hall. Frail and ill, a mere 6 months before his death, his performance felt like a communique from the beyond as he somehow managed a titanic Eighth lasting 100 minutes. That performance seemed to suspend time as his Bruckner communed with the Angels. At its completion, we witnessed Karajan, his breath labored and his shriveled body barely upright, weeping through a 30 minute ovation. The audience wept as well. This performance was captured in June 1979 in St. Florian, Bruckner's own church of the Augustinian Monastery near Linz where he had been organist, and where he lies buried in the crypt beneath the organ. The performance is shorter than that final Eighth, lasting 84 minutes but is nonetheless probing, profound, and touched with an epic grandeur. The orchestral sonority is rich and multi-colored, their playing superb, frequently moving and always thrilling.

The unfinished Ninth symphony, anguished, often nightmarish with its machine-like scherzo, chilling trio and dissonant climax that seems to presage the new century, is given a tough reading of great urgency. Although the performance is not technically perfect, its conception is brilliant, the effect staggering. The Vienna Philharmonic sound massive and dark hued: the horns are weighty and monumental, the strings forceful yet lyrical, speaking insistently from out of the darkness, producing shivers down the spine.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent Bruckner concerts April 21, 2008
To mark the 100th anniversary of Herbert von Karajan Deutsche Grammophon continues the exploration of its video catalogue and unearthing these remarkable Bruckner concerts from 1978/79 with the Wiener Philharmoniker is a more than welcome event. What I find amazing about these filmed documents is that they disprove more than anything the complaints often laid against Karajan as the inhuman control freak.
Here is a conductor, in the autumn of his career, entirely on top of his game, serving as the most dedicated guide through these fascinating works, obtaining magnificent results from one of the finest orchestras of the day. Karajan knows as none else to blend sense of architecture with orchestral detail and transparency. His Bruckner may not always be the most mysterious (compared to Eugen Jochum, for example) but for all his mastery of structure, these readings preserve a degree of spontaneity, warmth and glow, humanity even, undoubtedly linked to some extent to performing live. This is best realised in the 9th symphony, where Karajan's unerring sense of pace really drives the listener toward the abyss. The playing of the Wiener Philharmoniker is in this respect nothing short of outstanding. It's perhaps not so much about orchestral precision (although very little really dramatic here either, considering these are live concerts) but about colour, transparency (the strings are sublime), sweep, and dynamics. The moments of silence are as powerfully gripping as the tutti. The "Te Deum" is also a first-rate performance, reminding us in Karajan's dealing with the Wiener Singverein, what a great opera conductor he was.

The main drawback of this issue, however (and for a release under Karajan's artistic supervision this is quite exceptional), is the visual quality of the films.
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