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Discussion Starter · #1 ·


A question has been puzzling me for years: Is the Sony video cycle a genuine 7th Beethoven cycle of Karajan, or does it use the DG 1982-84 cycle as its soundtrack?

Finally I have got my hands on this Sony video cycle, so I am going to find out by looking at recording data, comparing timings, listening for differences etc.

Some background on the Sony video cycle: These are the staged performances that Karajan made using glamorous lighting (as opposed to the usual concert hall-style uniform lighting) that he once famously (or infamously) utilised to create a new experience for home video. The video is a Telemondial production that has appeared on VHS, VCD, LD and DVD through the years. The DVD set that I have now got was re-issued in 2007, with the audio "re-recorded" at the Berlin Philharmonie - Sony played the original audio at the Philharmonie, re-recorded it and re-mixed it for 5.0 surround. I have been under the impression that the original audio came from the DG 1982-84 cycle, because Sony claimed its audio was originally recorded in 1982-1984. Whether this is true, we shall see.

However, one thing is sure from the outset. The Sony #9 and the DG 1983 #9 are definitely different, simply because the singers are different. In fact, the Sony cast is the same as another DG 1986 cast (not the 1983 that is included in the DG 1982-84 cycle). More on this when I compare the recordings later on.

... to be continued.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
The first thing I did was to look at all the recording dates stated by Sony and DG. I will say it upfront - They do not match.

Sony cycle (DVD)
Re-recorded 2007
Released 2007.
Sony cycle (DVD)
"His Legacy for Home Video" series
Released c.1991.
DG 1982-84 cycle (CD)
"1980s box"
DG 1982-84 cycle (LP)
Original LP box
#11984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN1984.JAN
#21984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN1984.FEB
#31984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN1984.JAN
#41982.NOV1982.NOV.18-21 & 1983.NOV.29-DEC.061983.DEC1983.DEC
#51983.SEP/DEC1982.NOV.18-21 & 1983.NOV.29-DEC.061982.NOV1982.NOV
#61982.NOV1982.NOV1982.NOV1982.NOV
#71982.NOV1982.NOV1983.DEC1983.DEC
#81984.JAN/FEB1984.JAN/FEB1984.FEB1984.FEB
#91983.SEP/DEC1983.SEP.21-281983.SEP1983.SEP

In fact, apart from #6, none of them matches.

Looking specifically at #4 & #5, in Sony's c.1991 release, they are coupled on the same DVD. When they put together the recording data for Sony's 2007 release, which has #4 & #5 on separate DVDs, they possibly got mixed up.

But I cannot tell why the other dates are different.

By the way, DG also stated different months for #2 in the "Karajan 1980s" box and the original LP box. That is typical of them.

I am afraid these official dates stated by the record companies are not telling me much that could be useful to determine if the Sony and the DG are the same cycle.

... to be continued.
 

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OK, here's what I've gleaned about these video 'recordings' over the years but I may be wrong as there's so little info.....

Kiki, the question about HVK's video cycle is contentious for some and I can't truly answer it as I don't physically own it, as you do. However I've seen it and have read lots about it. Osborne claims that the performances are "mostly mimed". Some orchestra members challenged this and said that they performed as if "live" in the studio and the whole lot was recorded, with retouching - in particular, instrumental solos, and some players mimed to the playback but I'm not sure if this would be possible, to splice in another performance without hearing the difference. I think the truth is somewhere in between. Last time I watched it I did notice changes in sound when instrumental solos are playing and a sort of artificial highlighting in these parts but this was years ago and my memory might be playing tricks on me plus this may have been done just to emphasise those parts. When the brass plays they are certainly miming and this is true of the woodwinds too. What I can gather from my memories of it and from what I've read is that the bulk of what you see is a mix of live but mostly mimed sections, as Karajan wanted to highlight specific sections and recordings were done sectionally, in small parts. However, in truth I really don't know and, Kiki, your post has just confused me more! Osborne's book is usually pretty comprehensive but he kinda skips over all this, probably as this was released at a time when Herbie and the BPO were at loggerheads (that part of Osborne's book is particularly woolly about some of those recordings and he talks about tours more in that part of the book). Most of the former BPO players have remained tight-lipped about this topic, over the years, but those who have spoken said they played their parts for real. Whether these parts were actually recorded is another thing. I've read other Karajan books since but none address this particular topic. As for the recording of the 9th, I haven't got a clue. Where do these stand in regard to timings?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I have looked into #9 in details.

And I will state my conclusion first - This #9 from the Sony cycle was recorded in 1986, not in 1983 as Sony stated; and it is a different recording from the DG 1983 included in their 1982-84 cycle.

The most obvious difference is that they have different soloists.
Sony: Lella Cuberli, Helga Müller-Molinari, Vinson Cole, Franz Grundheber.
DG 1983: Janet Perry, Agnes Baltsa, Vinson Cole, José van Dam.

In fact, the Sony cast is the same as another DG #9 made in 1986. This 1986 studio recording is a gift CD that DG produced for the Salzburg Easter Festival in 1999, a not-for-sale collector's item. Therefore, forget the DG 1983 from the 1982-84 cycle. This Sony #9 has nothing to do with them.



Between the Sony and the DG 1986, the runtimes of all 4 movements are the same: 14:56, 10:23, 15:36, 23:54. They also sound the same, most apparently in the singing. Therefore I am convinced they are in fact the same recording.

There is also supporting evidence that Sony's 1983 date is wrong - tower.jp stated that the Sony was recorded in 1986, instead of 1983 as Sony stated. tower.jp is known to correct recording date errors from record companies. I have seen it several times with Mravinsky's recordings, which is a minefield as far as dodgy recording data is concerned. Therefore I would say, in general, tower.jp is more credible than the record companies themselves! In fact, I have also looked at several Japanese websites dedicated to Karajan's discography and they all stated 1986. After all, the Japanese are very pedantic about these things.

Onto the video. There is an audience! While the camera work focuses a lot on Karajan and the orchestra, there are a few cuts that show an audience in the background. However, there is neither audience noise nor applause.

The presence of an audience in the video does not imply that it was a live performance, because an audience could have been invited to fill the background during the filming session. It also does not imply that it was a one-take performance, because 1) they could have stopped to adjust their obsessive hair rim lighting that in fact changes angle in different cuts which would have been distracting for players and audience in a live situation, and 2) those cuts of incredibly clean framing of players are nearly impossible in a live situation so they were most likely isolated and staged.

There is another observation that I think is telling: the singers' lips do not synchronise with the audio! Close, but not exact. Also, Vinson Cole the tenor's facial expression looks particularly unnatural, that reminds me of low-budget music videos in which a singer sings but in fact he/she mimes.

Therefore, while I am convinced that the audio came from the DG 1986 recording, I suspect the video was filmed separately, and the final DVD product has the DG 1986 audio dubbed over it.

I think we can have a good laugh now, preferably with a glass of Lagavulin.

Last updated 2022-07-29
--
KK: Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 (DVD #3: 88697195409): DVD disc label stated "(P) & (C) 2007, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT".
KK: Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 (DVD #3: 88697195409): DVD booklet stated "Recorded Sept. & Dec. 1983 at the Philharmonie, Berlin".
--
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: DVD back cover stated "RECORDED SEPTEMBER 21-28, 1983 IN BERLIN".
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: DVD back cover stated "A production on TELEMONDIAL", "(C) 1990 TELEMONDIAL".
Re: "Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 "Choral"".
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: tower.jp stated "1986年9月、ベルリン、フィルハーモニー・ザール".
Re "ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン/Herbert von Karajan, His Legacy- Beethoven: Symphony no 9".
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: wakuwakudo.net stated "収録:1986年9月19~29日".
Re "SONY DVD ƒJƒ^ƒƒOEƒŠƒXƒg0412".
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: karajan.info stated "Rec:1986.9.19.-9.29".
Re "www.karajan.info/concolor/1957/Performance-Beethoven3.html".
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SVD 46364: karajan.co.uk stated "SONY SVD 46364 (PAL)", "Beethoven Symphony No 9 :1986 B.P.O.".
Re "Herbert Von Karajan - Video, VCD and DVD Collection".
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KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SIBC-51 (9 DVDs): tower.jp stated "1986年9月19-29日,Berlin".
Re "ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン/カラヤンの遺産 ベートーヴェン・コレクション<完全生産限定盤>".
--
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SIBC-126: tower.jp stated "1986年9月19-29日 ベルリン".
Re "ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン/カラヤンの遺産 ベートーヴェン:交響曲第9番「合唱」/ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン、ベルリン・フィルハーモニー管弦楽団<期間限定生産盤>".
--
KK: Sony DVD "His Legacy for Home Video" SIBC-22: cdjapan.co.jp stated "86年9月19~29日収録。".
Re "Beethoven: Symphony No.9 "CHORAL" Herbert Von Karajan DVD".
--
KK: Sony LD "His Legacy for Home Video" 01.46 364.88: LD back cover stated "A production on TELEMONDIAL", "(C) 1990 TELEMONDIAL".
KK: Sony LD "His Legacy for Home Video" 01.46 364.88: LD back cover stated "(C) 1991 Sony Classical GmbH".
Re: "Herbert Von Karajan Beethoven Symphony No. 9 Sony 1991 Laserdisc German | eBay".
--
KK: DG CD 445 148-2GO: CD front cover sticker stated "Geschenk für die Förderer der SALZBURGER OSTERFESTSPIELE".
KK: DG CD 445 148-2GO: CD back cover stated "FIRST RELEASE ON CD", "NOT FOR SALE", "(P) 1990 Telemondial, SAM, Monaco".
KK: DG CD 445 148-2GO: CD booklet stated "First release on CD", "Recording: Berlin, Philharmonie 9/1986", "(P) 1990 Telemondial, SAM, Monaco", "(C) 1999 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg".
KK: DG CD 445 148-2GO: karajan.info stated "Rec:1986.9.19.-9.29", "*正規盤未発売の録音がある(音源はSony映像と同一)".
Re "www.karajan.info/concolor/1957/Performance-Beethoven3.html".
--
KK: DG LP 415 066-1GH7 (7LPs): LP booklet stated "Recordings: Berlin, Philharmonie, ... 9/1983 (op. 125), ..."
--
KK: DG CD "Karajan 1980s" 00289 479 3448 LC 0173 (78 CDs): Box booklet stated "Recording: Berlin, Philharmonie, September 1983".
--
KK: Karajan played Beethoven #9 only in the 1971 and 1984 Salzburg Easter Festival.
Re "Herbert Von Karajan - Easter Festival Programmes".
--
RESEARCH:
KK: Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 & DG CD 445 148-2GO has the same runtimes 14:56,10:23,15:36,23:54.
KK: Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 & DG CD 445 148-2GO have the same soloists.
--
KK: Sony DVD & DG 1983 (part of the 1982-84 cycle) are different recordings. Runtimes and soloists are different.
KK: Sony DVD and DG 1986 are the same recording.
KK: Either or both dates stated by Sony and DG could be wrong. Both companies are not credible from past experience.
KK: DG's 1986 date may be more believable, because tower.jp and others stated the Sony was recorded in 1986.
KK: Since tower.jp is known to correct wrong data from record companies, their 1986 date is the most credible.
--
KK: Conclusion: Recorded in 1986. Not 1983.

... to be continued.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, here's what I've gleaned about these video 'recordings' over the years but I may be wrong as there's so little info.....

Kiki, the question about HVK's video cycle is contentious for some and I can't truly answer it as I don't physically own it as you do. However I've seen it and have read lots about it. Osborne claims in his book that the performances are "mostly mimed". Some orchestra members challenged this and said that they performed as if "live" in the studio with retouchings, in particular, instrumental solos, where players mimed to the playback but I'm not sure if this would be possible, to splice in another performance without hearing the difference. I think the truth is somewhere in between. Last time I watched it I did notice changes in sound when instrumental solos are playing and a sort of artificial highlighting in these parts but this was years ago and my memory might be playing tricks on me. When the brass plays they are certainly miming and this is true of the woodwinds too. What I can gather from my memories of it and from what I've read is that the bulk of what you see is a mix of live but mostly mimed sections, as Karajan wanted to highlight specific sections and recordings were done sectionally, in small parts. However, in truth I really don't know and, Kiki, your post has just confused me more! Osborne's book is usually pretty comprehensive but he kinda skips over all this, probably as this was released at a time when Herbie and the BPO were at loggerheads (that part of Osborne's book is particularly wooly about some of those recordings and he talks about toursore in that part of the book). Most of the former BPO players have remained tight-lipped about this topic, over the years, but those who have spoken said they played their parts for real. Whether these parts were actually recorded is another thing. I've read other Karajan books since but Mon address this particular topic. As for the recording of the 9th, I haven't got a clue. Where do these stand in regard to timings?
Thank you for your input, Merl!

I agree with you. I am convinced that the singers in this Sony #9 mimed, and by induction, if they did, the orchestra probably did too.

And I am certain that the audio came from the DG 1986 (a different recording from the DG 1983 included in their 1982-84 cycle). Timings match and they sound the same. It's especially easy to tell with singers.

Therefore, my conclusion is that Sony, or Telemondial rather, dubbed the DG 1986 audio over the staged video footage. And to answer my initial question, this Sony #9 has nothing to do with the DG 1983 from their 1982-84 cycle.

However, the detective work for other symphonies may be tougher.

E.g. The Sony #1 includes no exposition repeat, but the DG does; but this does not mean that they are different recordings.

E.g. Between Sony and DG, the runtimes of the first two movements of #5 are similar, but the runtime difference of the last two movements is more significant. I have seen something similar before with Mravinsky's recordings, where movements from different recordings were botched together to form a new release! I do not know if this is the case here though.

... the detective work will continue.
 

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This is really interesting to read. I knew about the 1983 DG Beethoven 9th but not about the 1986; has that been released on CD or is that only a video performance? Also, have you tried reaching out to Sony directly? They probably wouldn't be helpful but on the off chance that they were, it would at least give you a better clue.
 

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This is really interesting to read. I knew about the 1983 DG Beethoven 9th but not about the 1986; has that been released on CD or is that only a video performance? Also, have you tried reaching out to Sony directly? They probably wouldn't be helpful but on the off chance that they were, it would at least give you a better clue.
Tbh, Monsalvat, I doubt Sony would be of much use. The best port of call would be DG and the engineers responsible for the 'recordings' but I doubt DG will be forthcoming and I suspect the engineers are mostly dead/retired. As far as the 'staging' of shots is concerned this was definitely the case and some of the players have gone on record as stating that they took part in these 'sectional mimes' but that they also played through the pieces as a proper orchestra well away from these mimed sections.

As far as the 1st symphony is concerned, in the 3 DG cycles, Karajan took the repeat in the 60s and 80s cycle but not in the 70s cycle. Could they have used the audio from the 77 cycle here? Here are the timings for the 1977 1st:

I. 7:45
II. 6:03
III 3:35
IV 5:27

Could this be the answer? Btw, what would really help is if you had individual timings for the whole cycle, movement by movement, as I have all the timings of the 60s, 70s and 80s cycle in front of me right now (part of a project I never started). As Karajan's timings of all symphonies are remarkably similar across decades it's even more difficult but its fair to say, in general, that tempi in the 70s cycle are usually a little bit brisker (but not the 4th). However, there are other key differences in some movements that can help. For example he takes the exposition repeat in the third movement of the 6th in 1977 but didn't in the 60s and 80s sets. Does he take the exposition repeat in the video or not?
 

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FWIW Simon Rattle did a video interview on the BPO Digital Concert Hall where he talked about HvK at some length and one of the things that he mentioned is making videos where the orchestra mimed to an existing soundtrack - no surprise there. One interesting comment is when he said (approx.) "some of the musicians were miming to their now dead colleagues" which certainly implies that the soundtrack and video were not done at about the same time. It is very probably that those comments were based on first hand conversations with some of the musicians involved.
 

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From that nugget of info, Becca, I'm suspecting that some of these recordings are from the 77 set then. Kiki Poirot, we need your input again. If you can get those all-important movement timings I'm sure we can crack this case. :unsure:
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 · (Edited)
I will post the timings (with track silence deducted). It may take some time, as I am in the process of ripping the audio, and it's F1 weekend, Community Shield and I have new experiments planned in the kitchen tomorrow.

I will try my best at the detective work, Merl, but I am afraid I am no Poirot! 😅He has got more hair for sure, although my shaved head definitely looks neater.

I also doubt Sony or DG would be much help. I have asked other record companies similar questions, and their customer service did not have a clue what they were replying. I rather focus on screening other people's research results on the web, especially from the Japanese, since they are pedantic about these things and they have always been crazy about the Emperor (that's what they call Karajan).

Monsalvat, I believe DG never released that 1986 #9 on CD. It was not included in any previous incarnations of their "complete" Karajan boxes either. It was produced as a gift CD for the lucky people at the Salzburg Easter Festival. Having said that, straightly speaking, it is in fact available, not from DG, but from Sony on this #9 DVD.

Thanks Becca for the info. That is in line with I saw from the Sony #9 footage and it certainly raises the confidence level of my conclusion.
 

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Two apologies to begin with. Firstly, for a sucking eggs thing, but have you tried looking at:


All his recordings, concerts, radio broadcasts are listed here. For example there are 25 "Aufnahmen" and 76 "Konzerte" listed for Beethoven's 4th. The recordings seem to include some duplication, not the concerts.

You can look up by composer, work, location, date, seemingly wjatever thakes your fancy.

Secondly,
I don't have the time or energy to check your information myself. Put it down to laziness, on a good day I probably would try and help more.

Bit here are a couple of screenshots for the 4th...

Font Screenshot Software Rectangle Technology
Communication Device Font Screenshot Gadget Mobile device
Font Screenshot Software Rectangle Technology

Communication Device Font Screenshot Gadget Mobile device
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks CnC Bartok! I didn't know this site.

I hope they also do their research to correct wrong dates given by record companies. Yep, it has at least corrected the date of the Sony #9 to 1986, so that's good. (Tchaikovsky Research, for example, does little research, if not none, on recordings. It merely states the dates printed on the booklets.)

One thing that bothers me though, is that every recording is given a single date, but in fact a work could be recorded over a few days and in extreme cases over several years, e.g. the 75/76/77 le Sacre and Beethoven #1&#2.

Even so, this site should still be a great reference!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
From that nugget of info, Becca, I'm suspecting that some of these recordings are from the 77 set then. Kiki Poirot, we need your input again. If you can get those all-important movement timings I'm sure we can crack this case. :unsure:
Here are the Sony movement timings.

The error range is around +/-1s and is independent of movement length.

Sony mvt timings (excl. silence)
#18:02, 6:22, 3:53, 5:46
#210:16, 10:08, 3:54, 6:26
#313:58, 16:04, 6:09, 12:04
#49:59, 9:24, 5:53, 5:43
#57:15, 9:18, 4:53+8:41=13:34
#69:05, 10:16, 3:08+3:26+8:21=14:55
#711:11, 8:05, 7:33, 6:36
#89:03, 3:58, 5:53, 7:17
#914:56, 10:23, 15:36, 23:54

Over to you, Merl!

I will check out other people's research on the web and do some listening comparisons.

... to be continued.
 

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Here are the Sony movement timings.

The error range is around +/-1s and is independent of movement length.

Sony mvt timings (excl. silence)
#18:02, 6:22, 3:53, 5:46
#210:16, 10:08, 3:54, 6:26
#313:58, 16:04, 6:09, 12:04
#49:59, 9:24, 5:53, 5:43
#57:15, 9:18, 4:53+8:41=13:34
#69:05, 10:16, 3:08+3:26+8:21=14:55
#711:11, 8:05, 7:33, 6:36
#89:03, 3:58, 5:53, 7:17
#914:56, 10:23, 15:36, 23:54

Over to you, Merl!

I will check out other people's research on the web and do some listening comparisons.

... to be continued.
Right, looking at the timings and taking into account silences, etc it looks like symphonies 2-8 are very likely the accounts from the 80s cycle. The 9th is deffo not from the 80s cycle, as you suspected Kiki, and must be the 86 Salzburg recording you highlighted (times are miles out and don't fit either the 60s or 70s set either). The big anomaly here is the first movement of the first symphony. Here's the times for the three 1st symphonies:

1963 - 9:34* 5:53 3:58 5:51
1977 - 7:45 6:03 3:35 5:27
1985 - 10.11* 6:24 3:56 5:53
* repeat taken

The likelihood here is either they used the 1977 first movement and kept the rest of the 80s performance (times match pretty well don't they?) or they just edited out the repeat. Back to you, Kiki.😎
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I have looked into #1 in details.

Again, conclusion first: Sony is different from DG 1984 and other DG #1s. They are possibly different takes or different blends of takes recorded in January 1984, possibly in a period between 1984-01-23 & 01-31.

Timing comparison:

Again, all timings have silences deducted. Error range is approximately +/-1s. An error range of +/-1s should give a comparison granularity of 2s. Any difference between two figures within 2s should be treated as indistinguishable.

Sony: 8:02 (no repeat), 6:22, 3:53, 5:46
DG 1984: 10:03 (7:54 repeat deducted), 6:16, 3:53, 5:48
DG 1984: Exposition repeat starts from 3:42 to 5:51 (duration = 2:09)
DG 1975/76/77: 7:44 (no repeat), 6:02, 3:40, 5:26

Sony and DG 1984 do not match, even after subtracting the exposition repeat. Note that mvts 3 & 4 are very similar though.

Mvt 1 of Sony and DG 1975/76/77 also do not match.

Spectrogram and listening comparison:

I used Audacity to sync Sony and DG 1984, played them at the same time to find out if there is any difference. Result: They do not overlap perfectly, i.e. they are differnet.

Mvts 3 & 4: The spectrograms look very similar visually, but wherever I synchronised a passage between these 2 recordings, another passage would go a tiny bit out-of-sync.
Mvt 2: The Spectrograms look visually different. The first half of DG 1984 is faster.
Mvt 1: The beginning of DG 1984 (expo. repeat removed) is faster. The rest is similar. i.e. Sony is not a version of DG 1984 without the exposition repeat.


Recording dates found on the web:

The most specific descriptions of Sony and DG 1984 that I could find are:
Sony: 1984-01-23 to 01-31
DG 1984: 1984-01

Specifically discoverkarajan.com (courtesy of CnC Bartok) stated very specific dates:
Sony: 1984-01-31
DG 1984: 1984-01-27

However, as I said in an earlier post, discoverkarajan.com always states only one date for each recording; but in reality, a recording is often recorded over a few days, and in extreme cases over several years. Therefore their very specific single-date dates for both Sony and DG 1984 should not be taken for granted.

Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 (DVD #1: 88697195389): DVD booklet stated "Symph. No. 1, 2, 3, - Recorded Jan. & Feb. 1984 at the Philharmonie, Berlin".
Sony DVD "Re-recorded" 88697195439 (DVD #1: 88697195389): discoverkarajan.com stated "31.01.1984".
Re "Karajan für alle.".
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Sony DVD SVD 46363: DVD back cover stated "RECORDED JANUARY & FEBRUARY 1984 AT THE PHILHARMONIE, BERLIN".
Re "Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker - Ludwig Van Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 1 & 8".
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Sony BD SIXC-30: tower.jp stated for Sym 1, 8 "1983年11月29日~12月6日(2)、1984年1月23日~31日(1)、ベルリン、フィルハーモニー".
Re "ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン/カラヤンの遺産 ベートーヴェン:交響曲第1番&第8番".
Sony BD SIXC-30: cdjapan.co.jp stated for Sym 1, 8 "収録年: 1983年11月29日~12月6日、1984年1月23日~31日".
Re "Karajan no Isan Beethoven: Symphonies Vol. 1 & 8 (Japanese Title) Herbert von Karajan (conductor) / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Blu-ray".
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Sony DVD SIBC-122: tower.jp stated for Sym 1, 8 "1984年1月23-31日(第1番)、1984年2月18-24日(第8番) ベルリン".
Re "ベルリン・フィルハーモニー管弦楽団/カラヤンの遺産 ベートーヴェン:交響曲第1番、第8番/ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン、ベルリン・フィルハーモニー管弦楽団<期間限定生産盤>".

--

DG 1984: discoverkarajan.com stated "27.01.1984".
Re "Karajan für alle.".
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DG 1984: "Karajan 1980s" CD 48: 415 505-1GH: CD box booklet stated "Recording: Berlin, Philharmonie, January 1984".
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DG 1984: Original LP box 415 066-1GH7 (7LPs): LP box booklet stated "Recordings: Berlin Philharmonie, ... 1/1984 (opp. 21, ...) ...".
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DG 1984: UCCG-2051: CD back cover stated for Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "録音: 1984年1月([1]-[4])、2月([5]-[8])、1985年12月([9],[10]) ベルリン、フィルハーモニー".
Re "Amazon.co.jp: ベートーヴェン:交響曲第1番&第2番、他: Music".
DG 1984: UCCG-2051: tower.jp stated for Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "1984年1,2月, 1985年12月 ベルリン".
Re "ヘルベルト・フォン・カラヤン/ベートーヴェン:交響曲第1番・第2番 ≪エグモント≫序曲/序曲≪コリオラン≫".
DG 1984: UCCG-2051: cdjapan.co.jp stated for Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "録音: 1984年1,2月、1985年12月 ベルリン".
Re "Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.1 & 2 [SHM-CD] Herbert von Karajan (conductor) CD Album".
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DG 1984: UCCG-70086: tower.jp stated for Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "1984年1,2月、1985年12月 ベルリン".
Re "https://tower.jp/item/2257977/ベートーヴェン:交響曲第1番・第2番-≪エグモント≫序曲-序曲≪コリオラン≫".
DG 1984: UCCG-70086: cdjapan.co.jp stated for Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "録音: 1984年1、2月、1985年12月 ベルリン".
Re "Beethoven: Symphonies 1 & 2/Egmont Overture/Overture Coriolan Herbert von Karajan (conductor)/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra CD Album".
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DG 1984: UCCG-9722 (5CD): tower.jp stated for all works "1982年-1984年 ベルリン".
Re "https://tower.jp/item/2363749/ベートーヴェン:交響曲全集-<初回生産限定盤>".
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DG 1984: UCCG-90724: cdjapan.co.jp stated Sym 1, 2, Egmont, Coriolan "録音: 1984年1月 (1-4)、2月 (5-8)、1985年12月 (9, 10) ベルリン、フィルハーモニー".
Re "Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2. Etc. [UHQCD] [Limited Release] Herbert Von Karajan (conductor) / Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra CD Album".

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Sony: 8:02, 6:22, 3:53, 5:46 (checked: no exposition repeat)
DG 1984: 10:03 (7:54 w/o repeat), 6:16, 3:53, 5:48 (checked: with exposition repeat)
DG 1984: Exposition repeat starts from 3:42 to 5:51 (duration = 2:09), i.e. 1st mvt without repeat = 7:54)

Crunch time:

Although the timings of Sony and DG 1984 are different, could these differences be caused by incorrect/inconsistent playback speed when Sony re-recorded it? I doubt it. The DG 1982-84 cycle is DDD, therefore playback speed should be determined by the 44.1kHz clock, not tape playback speed (even if the digital audio was stored on tapes). Even if there is something malfunctioning on Sony's playback clock, I seriously doubt only part of a movement would become faster as in this case.

Since I am paranoid, I compare the spectrograms of Sony #9 and DG 1986 #9 to verify my conclusion there: Yes, they match exactly!

Therefore, I am quite certain that Sony is different from DG 1984 and other DG #1s.

So when were Sony and DG 1984 recorded? It is likely that they are different takes or different blends of takes recorded in January 1984, possibly in a period between 1984-01-23 & 01-31.

Why would Sony and DG use different takes in their respective recordings? No idea.

That's all for #1. It rivals the most horrible Mravinsky recordings that I have investigated!

Out of curiosity, I did a quick spectrogram comparison between Sony and DG's #4 mvt 1, #7 mvt 4, #8 mvt 1. Oh no, they do not match! What have I got myself into?!

... to be continued, reluctantly.

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Anyone who wants to play devil's advocate is welcome!
 

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So, what you're saying, Kiki, is that it looks like this can be classed as Karajan's 7th cycle! Those players from the BPO who said they played the whole cycle may be correct! Le gasp! 😲. I am impressed by your resilience. Btw, the reason I had those times to hand was they were part of a comparative review I was going to do of the 3 DG cycles. I cannot be bothered now. Lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
So, what you're saying, Kiki, is that it looks like this can be classed as Karajan's 7th cycle! Those players from the BPO who said they played the whole cycle may be correct! Le gasp! 😲. I am impressed by your resilience. Btw, the reason I had those times to hand was they were part of a comparative review I was going to do of the 3 DG cycles. I cannot be bothered now. Lol
The odds are getting higher that this Sony DVD cycle is a genuine 7th cycle, but then I have only scrutinised #1 & #9 so far, so the detective work should continue. Who knows what surprise will show up next!

But I need a break first! I am Sony'ed out at the moment.

One potential banana skin is my lack of knowledge in the commercial digital playback/recording workflow. Are there possible mishaps that could produce an incorrect/inconsistent playback/recording speed that is subtle enough to escape notice? A bad master clock perhaps, but I cannot image Sony falling victim to that.

Oh, Merl, I would love to read a comparative review from you of the 3 DG cycles, ideally adding also the EMI, the 66, the 77 and this Sony if it should prove to be a genuine cycle! ;)
 

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Here's an interesting story worth noting ... Klemperer did a studio recording of Petrouchka which didn't go very well. After reviewing the various takes it was decided that a good performance couldn't be assembled for release and so it was consigned to the archives. Fast forward a few decades and the folks at Testament (?) had the opportunity to review the materials and came to the conclusion that a good performance could indeed be put together from the material and did do so, albeit different from what EMI had considered. Gives a bit of pause to think.
 

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Here's an interesting story worth noting ... Klemperer did a studio recording of Petrouchka which didn't go very well. After reviewing the various takes it was decided that a good performance couldn't be assembled for release and so it was consigned to the archives. Fast forward a few decades and the folks at Testament (?) had the opportunity to review the materials and came to the conclusion that a good performance could indeed be put together from the material and did do so, albeit different from what EMI had considered. Gives a bit of pause to think.
I feel rather conflicted about these kind of artificial tricks used to produce "perfect" studio recordings. Great artists will remain great even under dubious circumstances - but having an entire orchestra, consisting of extremely talented musicians, miming to pre-recorded music like a bunch of Elvis-imitators... that's no less than perverted.
Regarding Klemperer, that's a problem case for me too. I even dislike the famous Mahler DLvdE, because the parts with Ludwig were recorded after the death of Wunderlich, resulting in a recording that has a disjointed and artificial feel, though it's almost unbeatable in the individual "numbers".
 

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Robert, the 'miming' was done for artistic effect on the video. If these performances were made up of sectional clips of recording surely either myself or Kiki would have noticed the editing but listening to a few of these recordings they don't sound sectional or piecemeal - they'd be slightly disjointed and none of these performances sound like that. It's hard cos Karajan's vision of the the Beethoven cycle varied little especially in the 70s and 80s and so timings for performances are pretty close (the guy was a walking metronome). The BPO knew these works like the back of their hand, knew how Karajan liked them being played, had just recorded them for a cycle and were playing them on tour so in theory they could easily have just knocked out another recording. By the way who is the producer /engineer on the Sony Dvd, Kiki? Are they different from the ones on the cycle (Breest / Glotz)? Here's a shot of the production notes from the original 80s cycle (not the Karajan Gold remasters) if it helps with your detective work. Recording dates are included.
PS. I've read all the Karajan books and scoured the Karajan fan sites and no-one actually knows the answer to this question so if we do get to the bottom of this mystery it will be a first. To boldly go where no man has gone before......
 

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