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Beethoven: 9th Symphony

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Amazon.com: 21 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
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.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
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!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Absolutely spectacular! June 21 2012
By Terry - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This is one of my all time favorite videos. I have it on VHS, which is the main reason I kept my VHS player hooked up. I was waiting for the dvd, and here it is! Beethoven is my favorite composer, and this is my favorite piece of music ever. I also admire Karajan conducting, and will buy his version of productions first, especially the Germanic composers. Besides the performance, what I like about this video is that the filming lets you see the whole orchestra, and is a better concert experience. I thought I bought this performance on dvd a few years back, but it was a different version that relied too much on close ups of the instruments and Karajan's baton. Not the case here. Best of all, look at Karajan's face at the end of the performance, and the kiss to the orchestra. I love this video!