Karajan's reading of the Sixth, the darkest symphony of Mahler, is a revelation… the combination of polish, rhythmic point and flexibility make for a reading that has both concentration over the broadest span and consistent fantasy and imagination over detail. ..The recording is one of the very finest ever given to Karajan in Berlin, with ample range and richness…. a Mahler recording which sets new standards.
… magnificently prepared and executed; the orchestral playing is wonderfully beautiful, and the conductor's balancing of his vast forces is magisterially subtle… the controlled power of this account of the Sixth is enormous. Without that, the gorgeousness of the detail might have seemed cosmetic; but the strength of the framework is enough to carry it brilliantly. ..The Andante moderato, in particular, has a grandly sustained radiance that has probably never been matched.
Records and Recording (1978)
A definitive documentary about legendary conductor Herbert Von Karajan to mark 100 years since his birth. First release in any format! Not just a biographical film, Karajan uncovers the true, personal essence of the unique artist behind the public figure, a portrait of a man who was full of contradictions and remained a mystery until his death.
Karajan could be so expressive, with the big sound of the Berlin Philharmonic, in Vivaldi's very famous Magnum Opus. Solo violinist Michel Schwalbe is also terrific, quiet and bold alternately, as needed.
Between 1961 and 1986, Herbert von Karajan made three recordings of the Mozart Requiem for Deutsche Grammophon, with little change in his conception of the piece over the years. This recording, from 1975, is, on balance, the best of them. The approach is Romantic, broad, and sustained, marked by a thoroughly homogenized blend of chorus and orchestra, a remarkable richness of tone, striking power, and an almost marmoreal polish. Karajan viewed the Requiem as idealized church music rather than a confessional statement awash in operatic expressiveness. In this account, the orchestra is paramount, followed in importance by the chorus, then the soloists. Not surprisingly, the singing of the solo quartet sounds somewhat reined-in, especially considering these singers' pedigrees. By contrast, the Vienna Singverein, always Karajan's favorite chorus, sings with a huge dynamic range and great intensity, though with an emotional detachment nonetheless. Perfection, if not passion or poignancy, is the watchword. The Berlin orchestra plays majestically, and the sound is pleasingly vivid.