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Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 E-dur Import

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Audio CD, Import, July 23, 1996
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orch.
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Anton Bruckner
  • Audio CD (July 23, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GKC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,912 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 64 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Karajan ended his recording career with this CD. It is difficult to avoid the easy cliches that come with this comment. I will just say that although Karajan was not one of my favorites, I am more than ready to admit that quite often he reached greatness, and this CD is one of those occasions. This is definitely the best 7th symphony of Bruckner that I have heard. The keen understanding that Karajan had of it, and the magical tool of the Wiener Philharmonic pretty much assures us that it will be a while until anybody comes up with a better interpretation. The 7th is reputedly the "easiest" symphony for the neophyte. I think that perhaps it is the less demanding of them, even the simplest. Too often it is played without much scope. Karajan here shows us that the 7th should not be taken for granted and that it speaks to the deeper recess of our soul as much as its companions. However he does not stop there and he shows us the sunnier aspects of the music of Bruckner, nowhere more apparent than in this work, except perhaps curiously in some passages of the 4th. I would say that the understanding of this balance by Karajan is what makes this recording so great.
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Hodges on August 10, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This symphony opens with one of the most gorgeous passages for cello ever written, and although I am not one to rave on and on about the Vienna Philharmonic, they deliver this magical beginning as well as I've ever heard it. Herbert von Karajan takes his time here, and the orchestra follows suit with a glorious, often magic performance. Although there is no single "right" approach to this music, I confess that I prefer my Bruckner to err slightly on the slow side. The composer's long phrases are so beautiful that it seems like a waste to rush through them, and I like conductors who can linger on the huge paragraphs (and orchestras with the technical prowess to support this approach).

In what would be his last recording, von Karajan seems to have found more quiet mystery here than usual (as in his final Bruckner Eighth, also with Vienna). This is a glowing, serene journey -- different from say, Georg Solti's slightly faster, and more intense version with Chicago. The sound quality is excellent, as well, even if to my ears not quite as ideal as for that Eighth.

As one of Bruckner's most popular works, the Seventh is well-preserved on disc, in a crowded cluster of memorable recordings from many eras. I also admire Christoph von Dohnanyi's beautiful version with the incomparable Cleveland Orchestra, and the aforementioned Solti gives me more pleasure than I might have thought at first. But this final von Karajan breath does seem to have a special aura.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on November 1, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Several early Amazon reviewers treated this Bruckner Seventh, which was released posthumously after Karajan's death in 1989, as if it foreshadows an old man's passing. But this isn't a slow or reflectively melancholy reading--in fact, the first movement is quicker (if only marginally) than Karajan's two previous recordings for EMI and DG, both with the Berlin Phil. By comparison, the Vienna Phil. sounds sweeter, never bombastic, incapable of a brash phrase. The recording sounds so alive and present that one could swear it was a concert performance, but apparently it wasn't. In any case, the orchestral execution is more animated and fresher sounding than on Karajan's two previous readings.

The conductor always favored whispering pianissimos and thunderous, though controlled, fortissimos. Here those contrasts are reduced; The music tends to stay in an average dynamic range until a climactic swell is called for. This evenness of tone gives the reading a flowing quality, which is enhanced by Karajan's refusal to use the start-and-stop phrasing so common with other conductors in Bruckner. The great slow movement is especially free and spontaneous, not at all funereal even if the composer was moved by Wagner's recent death. This memorial to his greatest hero is sublime rather than grieving.

With so many special qualities, it's hard not to declare that this is Karajan's greatest Bruckner Seventh recording. In terms of freshness and a singing line, only the live Giulini performance from London (on BBC Legends) comes close to it in my experience. Highly, highly recommended.

P.S. May, 2009 - For anyone who's interested, I've added a more detailed comparison among Karajan's three Bruckner Sevenths in the comments section. It pleases me that so many five-star reviews have accumulated in the passing years.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By David Lee on June 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
The end of Herbert K's life brought a strange amount of discord. His health was very bad after falling off of a podium which broke his hip and there was an estrangement which set in between the Berlin Phil which sadly darkened the last years after all he did for this orchestra. That being said, the relationship which spawned again with the Vienna Philharmonic was a source of great music that being said one can imagine how fine things were in Vienna in the late 80s with such conductors as Karajan, Giulini, and Abaddo making so many fine recordings in the cap it off Bernstein was doing great Mahler in Vienna at that time as well!! we come to the last recording of Karajan's career. It is truly an awesome piece of music making with the Adagio as the high point...all of the wonder of this fine music is here plus the opulent phrasing which only the Vienna Phil can bestow on this for price this recording at any price is worth having. Not since the like of Klemperer, Jochum and Knappersbusuch has such great Bruckner playing been heard...although I like Barenboim for different reasons his Bruckner is defintely not anywhere in this league...

so for true collectors of fine performances and Conducting this Karajan is a real must!
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