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Beethoven: 9th Symphony

L.V. Beethoven , Berliner Philharmoniker , Herbert von Karajan    NR (Not Rated)   DVD

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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Ninth April 4 2008
By E. Robles - Published on Amazon.com
This is indeed a spectacular Ninth. You can see Karajan's total involvement from the opening bars. What makes it great for me, though, is not only the playing and singing, but the video treatment of the conductor and orchestra. Unfortunately, I find many Karajan's videos spoiled because of really odd camera treatments. The orchestra is lined up in an artificial way, or it is highlighted in a way that it detracts from the music. None of that here. Karajan said that he made videos so as to preserve his art. This is one of the few videos that really captures the essence of Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great orchestra and their conductor at their peak Oct. 26 2008
By RaabH - Published on Amazon.com
Aside from featuring a superb performance of Beethoven's (and arguably music's) greatest symphony, this DVD also delivers an exciting and unintrusive visual experience thanks to the thoughtful direction of Sir Humphrey Burton. Unlike later video productions of the BPO that were directed by Karajan himself, this one does not attempt any fancy video effects or spend too much time focusing on the conductor. Instead the camera seems to instinctively know what we want to see, whether it is a particular instrumental or vocal soloist, the entire orchestra tearing into a climax, or the moment in the fourth movement when the chorus finally stands up after being seated for over an hour.

Since I grew up admiring Karajan's work and particularly have enjoyed his recordings from the 60's and 70's, this production provided a fantastic opportunity for me to watch him conduct a live concert when he was at the height of his fame. Remarkably, he stands before the orchestra with no podium and no score, and shows an economy of gesture that is perhaps the direct opposite of the more demonstrative style of his contemporary Leonard Bernstein.

Video and sound quality are both excellent, especially considering their 1970's vintage.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the finest April 11 2008
By Mehran Omaraie - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
A very compelling performance of Beethoven 9th. The camera work is much better than the other DG Beethoven films showing Karajan and BPO. There are many shots of the whole orchestra, Singers and players. You fill like sitting at Philharmonie hall and enjoying the music created by a great man. One of the best performances of Beethoven in 20th century
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Joyous ode and hymn of thanks Oct. 12 2008
By yuwc - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Unbelievable performance! There are lots of available CDs and DVDs from Karajan and the BPO. With the Karajan centenary winding down in terms of releases, though AUDITE still has yet to release the Symp No 9 from a 1957 live recording, this DVD performance taken from a New Year's eve concert can only be described as an ode to joy culminating in a hymnlike performance of thanks.

The intensity of the opening movement and the weight of the playing (not weight to clog the sounds) is amazing. The timpanis in the 2nd movement
was right on cue. I was expecting them to burst open anytime! The 3rd movement is totally engaging and it was over even before i had time to take in a breath.

The 4th is a wonder of pure joy. While the Karajan we know from the many studio records with the smooth sound, here there is an excitement felt from the very first movement that something special was at hand. At the end, there was no doubt the audience felt that way. A standing ovation well deserved by all.

A quite superb performance!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful interpretation - but where is the supplement? Jan. 27 2009
By Mr. R. Lee-van Den Daele - Published on Amazon.com
This is fascinating footgae of the 31 December 1977 Karajan-led performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony from the Berliner Philharmonie.

Karajan really draws from his forces a magnificent reading of the Choral symphony which marries terrifying brute force with eloquent balm. It is directed by the talented Humphrey Burton.

The quality is good for the period, but as can be seen in the recent Karjan documentary DVD by Robert Dornhelm, extensive rehearsal footage exists for this concert - and it is fascinating stuff.

I was very disappointed to see that this has not been included on the DVD. I wonder why not given the capacity of discs and knowing that this material is clearly available. Maybe someone hasn't done their homework on this?

Not enough to warrant losing a star in my rating but it would have been so much better with the extras.

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