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Tchaikovsky: Symphony 6 "Pathétique" / Romeo and Juliet / Chabrier: España / Karajan

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 17, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Espana Rhapsody
  2. Fantasy Overture
  3. I: Adagio - Allegro Non Troppo
  4. II: Allegro Con Grazia
  5. III: Allegro Molto Vivace
  6. IV: Finale (Adagio Lamentoso - Andante)


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Emmanuel Chabrier, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky
  • Audio CD (October 17, 2000)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics Imports
  • ASIN: B000002ST1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,056,245 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
This account of Tchaikovsky's "Pathetique" is one of Karajan's better balanced efforts. I have not yet listened to the Chabrier Espana, and I will probably ignore Romeo and Juliet because I feel its overratedness contributes to its excessive appearance on discs. I suppose because I'm not an avid Karajan fan and follower that I've shortchanged myself somewhat on discovering a side of this conductor I had thought was uncommon at best. Others more familiar with his career have said that Karajan used to be more flexible years ago, and then, in time, became more concerned with tailoring or packaging, even controlling, the kind of musical style he was interested in selling to audiences. With the exception of his Beethoven, some of his Brahms and the Prokoviev Fifth and Shostakovich Tenth Symphonies, I've not widely embraced that approach. In particular, at times, I've found portions of his Tchaikovsky, (for example, the Berlin Fifth) characterized by excessive drama. However, in this 1949 performance with the fabled Vienna Philharmonic, a good deal of his Tchaikovsky 6th is played in a more straightforward manner. The second movement is especially nicely done. Elsewhere, tragic elements are well handled. All considered, a fine performance in mono but very good sound.
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Format: Audio CD
With the possible exception of his pre-War effort, Karajan was always a master of the Tchaikovsky Sixth. To the end of his days, he was never less than magisterial in this work.

Make no mistake, this 1948 version is a fearsome beast. Perhaps it is less imbued with holy madness than his later versions but it is none the worse for that. The Romeo and Juliet overture is a legendary recording; sone say that it has not been surpassed to this very day; the Karajan digital remake form September 1982 cannot hold a candle to it Tchaikovsky: Romeo and Juliet; The Nutcracker Suite.

The Vienna Philarmonic play superlatively. And as the reviewer above has commented, the sound is astounding for the period - one of those horridly flat mono-recordings from the Fifties it aint.

Buy this disc with confidence, if you can find it !
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