Recorded when the Berlin Philharmonic and Herbert von Karajan were in their plush phase, but under a full head of steam, these polished performances of the Beethoven overtures are a visceral delight. The sensuous, bass-heavy textures and glistening gut-strung string playing are still something to marvel at. So are the outstanding solos in the winds and the potent proclamations of the brass, which had become impressively secure at this point in Karajan’s reign, even though their tuning was still problematic. At times the treatment may seem just a bit Prussian and overbearing, and premeditated in effect rather than spontaneous. But the Olympian grandeur of the conceptions and the sense of festive sweep Karajan brings to the readings make this a set one can live with. The sound is boomy in the louder passages, but there is excellent atmosphere in the quiet ones. –Ted Libbey
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra: Berlin Philarmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Number of Discs: 2
DR-Analysis: DR 13
Size: 3.76 GB
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