Orchestral music by
Beethoven · Debussy · Rachmaninov
Ravel · Rossini · Wagner · Weber
including a portrait »Impressions of Herbert von Karajan«
Alexis Weissenberg
Berliner Philharmoniker
Int. Release 17 Mar. 2008
2 DVD-Videos
0440 073 4399 9
STEREO: PCM / SURROUND: DTS 5.1 · Picture Format: 4:3
Portrait in German with English subtitles
A production of UNITEL, Munich

Track List

DVD 1: Karajan in Concert

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 - 1827)
Music To Goethe's Tragedy "Egmont", Op. 84


Gioacchino Rossini (1792 - 1868)
William Tell


Richard Wagner (1813 - 1883)
Tannhäuser, WWV 70


Carl Maria von Weber (1786 - 1826)
Der Freischütz, Op. 77, J. 277


Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918)
La mer, L. 109

Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan, Karlheinz Zoeller

Total Playing Time 1:28:45

DVD 2: Karajan in Concert

Sergey Vasil'yevich Rachmaninov (1873 - 1943)
Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor, Op. 18


Alexis Weissenberg, Berliner Philharmoniker, Herbert von Karajan

Maurice Ravel (1875 - 1937)
Daphnis et Chloé Suite No.2, M. 57b


Herbert von Karajan, Berliner Philharmoniker, Karlheinz Zoeller

Total Playing Time 52:30

Herbert von Karajan's conducting achieves a fascinating synthesis of dynamism, discipline, and a diverse palette of gestures. Although his gestures clearly possess elegance and the power of suggestion, he remained more rooted than did leading conductors of a later generation . . . there's much of interest here.

Typical Karajan traits are immediately apparent in the "Coriolan" Overture: depth of sound, built from the double-basses up; a Teutonic seriousness of utterance. This is huge Beethoven, with phrases that move with all the inevitability of molten lava. Karajan's conducting is, as always, supremely expressive of gesture . . . Karajan's pacing . . . is spot-on, and in this most dramatic of Beethoven overtures, the Karajan approach is a near bull's eye. "Egmont" emerges as "Coriolan's" blood brother in the depth of string sound Karajan elicits from his forces. Discipline is miraculous -- first violins move together with preternatural exactitude; lower strings dig in to phrase beginnings in the Overture proper with visceral bite. The final "Battle Scene" blazes with ferocity; Karajan's gestures, always fluid, tend towards the magisterial here . . . Wonderful . . . to hear the Berliners' string discipline in this "Tannhäuser" . . . Overall, this is a tremendous performance of "Freischütz", meaty and dynamic in the faster section . . . There is no denying, also, the virtuosity on display in the final "Danse générale" . . . Weissenberg and Karajan are similarly indulgent here. The long string lines are milked remorselessly. Weissenberg is in true cahoots with his collaborator . . .

Dem Regisseur Robert Dornhelm ist mit "Karajan -- oder 'Die Schönheit, wie ich sie sehe'" (DG) ein wunderbares Filmporträt gelungen . . . Empfehlenswert sind dabei vor allem "Karajan in Concert" und Wagners "Das Rheingold".

Ce florilège impressionnant . . . se place dans une autre perspective que les récents ensembles Brahms et Tchaikovski, Malgré la diversité des compositeurs, le son prodigieux et enivrant du Philharmonique de Berlin ne change guère, pas plus que son effectif imposant. Cela seul suffirait à inscrire Karajan dans un temps autre: rares sont aujourd'hui les chefs d'orchestre qui croient en cet idéal d'un son omniscient . . . toutes ces gravures dispensent en dernière analyse le même magnétisme prenant, mélange de puissance, de maîtrise, et de concentration (Coriolan!) . . . Debussy et Ravel unissent intériorité fascinante, densité capiteuse, et dégradés de couleurs magistraux . . .