HERBERT VON KARAJAN The first recordings 4776237
Superior transfer technology assures Herbert von Karajan's 'first recordings' (for Polydor, 1938-43) their best sonic shot. Now newly repackaged as a DG 'Original Masters' collection with a new booklet article by Richard Osborne, these auspicious sessions are always worth revisiting, the major works in particular -- Beethoven's Seventh, Dvorák's Ninth, Tchaikovsky's Sixth, Mozart Nos. 40 and 41, all graced with abundant energy and a relatively light touch.
. . . it is very efficient: the quality of the playing is astonishingly good . . . Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1939 is . . . erupting into thrilling life when called for: Karajan's control of structures here is remarkable . . . The precision of Karajan draws from the players at the start of "Don Juan" is striking, the spacious phrasing of the love music revealing the expressive Karajan -- a glimpse of the tonal beauty he would later cultivate so impressively . . . Transfers have been well done and the booklet has interesting notes and some unusual photographs.