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9 Symphonies (1977) [6 CD Box Set] Box set

4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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This is hedonistic Beethoven, though in listening to these accounts one wonders sometimes whether Herbert von Karajan may not have confused sex with love, and physicality with emotion. At least he seems more concerned with opulence of sound and weight of texture than with psychology or substance. Yet while his interpretation has neither great emotion, nor struggle, nor a sense of spiritual release, it certainly has great beauty and exhilaration. The readings are typical of the "massaged" style of performance Karajan cultivated in Berlin during the 1970s, and which Andrew Porter famously critiqued when he likened the results to Kobe beef. There is a certain softness under all that muscularity, though for the most part Karajan shows his usual strong grip and maintains the balance of lyrical and kinetic elements. The Berlin Philharmonic, at its peak when these recordings were made, is a marvel: even if its playing is rarely fiery or spontaneous, its sound is plush, succulent, and exilaratingly rich. Karajan uses a big orchestra all the way through, even in Symphony No. 1--which as a result sounds rather massive, though not heavy (the brisk scale in the violins at beginning of the fourth movement is delightfully airy). In addition to their polish, his readings are notable for their high energy level. This is particularly true of the Eighth, one of the most successful items in the set, which is interpreted in a way that clearly shows its connection to Seventh. On balance, the accounts run from very good to outstanding (Nos. 4, 8 and 9), but only rarely do they approach the transcendent. The recordings, made in Berlin's Philharmonie, are close-miked and mastered at a fairly high level, and sound is impressively firm. --Ted Libbey

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto
  3. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: 3. Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
  4. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: 4. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
  5. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: 1. Adagio - Allegro vivace
  6. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: 2. Adagio
  7. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: 3. Allegro vivace
  8. Symphony No. 4 In B Flat Major, Op. 60: 4. Allegro ma non troppo
  9. Overture, Egmont, Op. 84: Sostenuto, ma non troppo - Allegro

Disc: 2

  1. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: 1. Adagio - Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: 2. Larghetto
  3. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: 3. Scherzo. Allegro
  4. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: 4. Allegro molto
  5. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: 1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
  6. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: 2. Allegretto
  7. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: 3. Presto
  8. Symphony No. 7 In A Major, Op. 92: 4. Allegro con brio

Disc: 3

  1. Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major, Op. 55 'Erocia': 1. Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major, Op. 55 'Erocia': 2. Marcia funebre. Adagio assi
  3. Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major, Op. 55 'Erocia': 3. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
  4. Symphony No. 3 In E Flat Major, Op. 55 'Erocia': 4. Finale. Allegro molto
  5. Overture Leonore No. 3, Op. 72A: Adagio - Allegro

Disc: 4

  1. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: 1. Allegro con brio - L.V. Beethoven
  2. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: 2. Andante con moto - L.V. Beethoven
  3. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: 3. Allegro - L.V. Beethoven
  4. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor, Op. 67: 4. Allegro - L.V. Beethoven
  5. Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93: 1. Allegro vivace e con brio - L.V. Beethoven
  6. Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93: 2. Allegretto scherzando - L.V. Beethoven
  7. Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93: 3. Tempo di Menuetto - L.V. Beethoven
  8. Symphony No. 8 In F Major, Op. 93: 4. Allegro vivace - L.V. Beethoven
  9. Overture Fidelio, Op. 72B: Allegro - L.V. Beethoven

Disc: 5

  1. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': 1. Awakening Of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival In The Country - Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': 2. Scene By The Brook - Andante molto mosso
  3. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': 3. Merry Gathering Of Country Folk
  4. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': 4. Thunderstorm
  5. Symphony No. 6 In F Major, Op. 68 'Pastorale': 5. Shepherd's Song: Happy And Thankful Feelings After The Storm
  6. Overture To H. J. von Collin's Tragedy, Op. 62: Allegro con brio
  7. Overture 'The Creatures Of Prometheus' To Salvatore Vigano's Ballet: Adagio - Allegro molto con brio
  8. Overture 'The Ruins Of Athens' From The Music To A. von Kotzebue's Play: Andante con moto - Allegro, ma non troppo

Disc: 6

  1. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125: 1. Allegro manon troppo, un poco maestoso - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  2. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125: 2. Molto vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  3. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125: 3. Adagio molto e cantabile - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  4. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125: 4. Presto - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  5. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125: 4. Presto - Final Chorus From Schiller's 'Ode To Joy' - Ludwig Van Beethoven


Product details

  • Audio CD (July 17, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GBT
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,214 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
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