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Mozart Sinfonia Concertante K 297b & Richard Strauss Also Sprach Zarathurstra Op. 30 [Import]

Herbert von Karajan , Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart , Richard Strauss , Berlin Philharmonic Audio CD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Richard Strauss
  • Audio CD (February 12, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Testament
  • ASIN: B007XE0KJ2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #409,098 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

This live recording from the 1970 Salzburg Festival is a memorable collaboration between maestro Herbert von Karajan and his famous principal wind players - oboist Lothar Koch, clarinetist Karl Leister, bassoonist Gunter Piesk and horn player Gerd Seifert. Although Karajan recorded the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with the Berlin Philharmonic in the studio for EMI, the work was then performed by a different (and less stellar) group of soloists. The fine Also sprach Zarathustra also included on this recording benefits from a wonderful contribution from the orchestra's legendary leader Michel Schwalbe.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Summertime with Herbie in Salzburg December 11, 2012
Which fan of this conductor and orchestra so ineluctable is able to resist such a temptation? Not me! In my instance, the noonday devil barely had to lift a claw. And thankfully it is not another rendition of Ein Heldenleben. Recorded on the night of August 12 1970 at the Salzburg Festival in stereo, this is a near-mandatory acquisition.

The only competition faced by 'the Legion Vast' is from recordings they made elsewhere.

Herbie, as we all know, can be variable in Mozart to say the least. In the month following this event, the array recorded the late Symphonies for EMI. Herbie also recorded K 297b in 1971 with four different soloists from the Berlin Philharmonic; it is an etude in minestrone (Karajan & Kremer Play Brahms: Karajan Edition). As this superlative performance from the Salzburg Festival makes clear, these travesties should be attributed largely to EMI, not Herbie. Here, the first and second violins are placed on either wing of the orchestra to capitalise on the antiphony of the score: it's memorable. This is a sensational K 297b which so delivers on the innate nobility of the opening movement, the unquenchable nostalgia of the great Adagio and the playfulness of the Variations. My Herbie soup-o-meter semi-beeped at 6'41" - 6'48" in the first movement (from lack of articulation) and that was it. Mention must be made of the soloists and in particular, the luxuriant tone of Gerd Seifert. Richard Osborne once asked Herbie if Dennis Brain, with whom the conductor worked extensively, was his ideal horn-player. In so many words, Herbie said no, nominating Seifert instead. One could justify this selection on the basis of this recording: oh, to drown in velvet.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A concert I would have loved to hear November 8, 2013
As much as I love - and was indeed weaned on - the mono recording by Karajan and various illustrious members of the Philharmonia, this live Salzburg recording is in considerably fuller, live stereo sound and features Karajan's four favourite wind soloists in the Mozart - and indeed such an outpouring of joyous invention must be him for all the musicologists' doubts - most insouciant and exuberant of confections. It conveys all the fun, immediacy and atmosphere of a live performance and presses every button in my music-loving sensibilities. This is lush, affectionate playing by masters of the idiom; the ensemble is precise, indeed perfect, and there is nary a squawk or a begrudging curtailment of a phrase within earshot. This is a product of the glory years of the Karajan-BPO love affair before the bitterness and falling out.

The "Also Sprach" is an odd concert companion and is nowhere near as grand and hieratic as their later DG recording; a such this disc as a whole is not worth five stars compared with superior versions of the Strauss but still a fine example of the warmth and power of the BPO, even if I miss the sense of the transcendent that DG version brings. It has something to do with the close, enhanced recording robbing the whole of the numinous quality which the music ideally requires.
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