Classical Music Forum banner
941 - 946 of 946 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,884 Posts
Discussion Starter · #941 · (Edited)
1980's Disc 2
LP#2532063

View attachment 144128

Bruckner, Symphony No. 2 (1877 version)
Berlin Philharmonic, orchestra

Recorded at Philharmonie, Berlin, December 1980 & January 1981
Executive Producer: Günter Breest
Recording Producer: Michel Glotz
Balance Engineer: Günter Hermanns
Total time: 60:07

Review: If there is a difference between the digital multi-track recordings of Bruckner and the Analog recordings of one or two years prior, I can't say I really notice it. The recording is clear and strong, with a definite feeling of space. I love the Scherzo particularly here. I think it's one of Bruckner's stronger ones, and the percussion part in the last 30 seconds is thrilling (41:47 in the appended video). As far as the material, I quite like the earlier Bruckner symphonies. I think they're very accessible and have memorable melodies. I can't really find a reason to fault this recording, as such I rate it...

Overall Rating: 10/10

Video:
I attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra tonight to see a program of Mazzoli's Orpheus Undone, Mahler's Lieder and Bruckner 2. The performance was truly exceptional, and matched this recording for excitement (Muti's Bruckner is light years ahead of his Beethoven -- and this 80-year old man physically jumped atop the podium during a particularly intense moment). I was also in the front row of the first balcony, so things were particularly enjoyable both visually and sonically.

Building Hall Musical instrument accessory Event Opera house


But now listening to the recording again it's really quite noteworthy how clear the orchestral textures and instrument groups are, in many ways exceeding the live experience (I will give the live performance a slight edge in tremolo and pizzicato, though, they were more forward in my mental mix). Karajan's digital DG output is really pretty great in spots, with Bruckner, Haydn, and Strauss being particular highlights.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,570 Posts
How often do you come down Chicago way?

I was quite impressed by the performance. CSO is truly world-class, and this material (and my seat location) helped remind me of that.
Pre-covid, I would visit every year....my wife was from Chicago, we started re-visiting c2005, after she retired....CSO is great, they play so awesomely....
I love to catch 2 concerts when i go - the final concert on Tuesday evening, of the first series, then hear the 1st concert, on Thurs evening of the next series....on Wednesday night, I toot over to Buddy Guy's "Blues Legends" to take in some great local Blues groups!! Great fun, good food!!
Makes for a wonderful musical getaway..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,842 Posts
I attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra tonight to see a program of Mazzoli's Orpheus Undone, Mahler's Lieder and Bruckner 2. The performance was truly exceptional, and matched this recording for excitement (Muti's Bruckner is light years ahead of his Beethoven -- and this 80-year old man physically jumped atop the podium during a particularly intense moment). I was also in the front row of the first balcony, so things were particularly enjoyable both visually and sonically.

View attachment 165603

But now listening to the recording again it's really quite noteworthy how clear the orchestral textures and instrument groups are, in many ways exceeding the live experience (I will give the live performance a slight edge in tremolo and pizzicato, though, they were more forward in my mental mix). Karajan's digital DG output is really pretty great in spots, with Bruckner, Haydn, and Strauss being particular highlights.
Small world: my best friend was at that same concert!

But, yeah: I go to hear the CSO whenever I'm in Chicago, and in general they remain unquestionably a top-tier emsemble.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,884 Posts
Discussion Starter · #946 ·
EMI Records, Album #LC 0233

View attachment 151085

Schubert Complete Symphonies and Rosamunde Ballet Music
Symphony No.1 In D D82
Symphony No.2 In B Flat D125
Symphony No.3 In D D200
Symphony No.4 In C Minor D417 'Tragic'
Symphony No.5 In B Flat D485
Symphony No.6 In C D589
Symphony No.8 In B Minor D759 'Unfinished'
Symphony No.9 In C D944 'Great'
Rosamunde - Overture and Ballet Music D797

Berliner Philharmoniker, orchestra


Recorded: 8 Sep 1977 and 2-6 Jan 1978 (Sym 1-6, 9, Rosamunde); 10-12 June 1977 (Sym 8)
Recording Venue: Berlin Philharmonie
Balance Engineer: Wolfgang Gülich
Producer: Michel Glotz
Total time: 4:41:53

Review: This one has taken me a while because it was one big 5 LP release for EMI and it's nearly five hours of music. It was recorded in 1977 and 1978 for EMI at the Philharmonie. It shares some significant sonic characteristics with other recordings of that vintage - the 70s Brahms in particular. There are spots in which it is a bit boomy in terms of bass, which tends to obscure the mix. With that said, there are many spots with lovely lilt and detail. The 2nd movement of the 2nd symphony is one of my favorites in the whole set (11:08 in the appended Sym. 2 video). The moment it switches to the new tempo (15:45) gives a good feeling for the overall quality of the set - yes, it's a "big band sound." But at its best it is very involving and displays that classic HVK/BPO "Klang" for which they were so famous. Although it doesn't do this consistently, there is some good contrabass vibration detail present, especially as we get to the later symphonies. The Rosamunde music is played very well and is quite exciting.

I have two other Schubert cycles: Jos van Immerseel/Anima Eterna and Harnoncourt/Royal Concertgebouw. The Karajan trounces the 1992 DDD Harnoncourt recording for audio quality, though the performances are done in a similar style. The Immerseel is much fleeter and played in a HIP style. It's a different beast altogether, with correspondingly lighter, more airy digital sound (it was recorded in 1996-97).

This cycle was remastered by Warner Classics in 2014 as a part of their Karajan box sets of EMI material. The remaster went some way towards taming that bloomy sound, and is an improvement across the board.

I never fail to enjoy this set and frequently turn on one symphony or another only to find myself thinking "oh, just one or two more." It is consistently enjoyable in the way that HVK/BPO's best 1970s recordings can be - big and bold. I can't give it a 10 because of the room for audio improvement. But a 9 feels right to me.

Rating: 9/10
I purchased a new Schubert cycle on a whim in advance of attending a concert in the park featuring the Unfinished. It is the Brilliant Classics Blomstedt/Dresden Staatskapelle collection. For $6 I feel very good about the purchase.


Anyway, listening through it inspired me to do some spot comparisons with the Karajan/BPO cycle on EMI reviewed here. It's funny, as I listened to the Blomstedt, I frequently thought to myself "wow, that texture/instrument is really clear." Then I would go back to the Karajan/BPO, expecting it to be muddier. But.... it really wasn't. I could hear the same woodwinds, tympani, etc. The EMI recording is quite good. It was an exercise in how the "conventional wisdom" can color one's expectations.

Anyway, in terms of comparisons, the overall balance of orchestral sound is very similar - the Blomstedt set has been called "big boned," which I agree with. It is a modern instrument, big sound, high quality recording. The tempii are generally either similar to or slightly faster than the Karajan/BPO. It's really excellent overall, and may be my first choice (or something I pick and choose between with the Karajan). But it confirms my personal take on the Karajan/BPO/EMI - it is not a bad set and one could do a lot worse for a complete cycle.
 
941 - 946 of 946 Posts
Top