Monday, December 6, 2010

Mendelssohn - 5 Symphonies – Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic

 


 

 

 

 

Review:

If any one has any doubt as to whether Karajan is one of the greatest conductors of all time, they should listen to symphonies 1, 4 and 5 on this collection. Even if you despise the large license Karajan takes with unmarked tempo changes, you will still be in admiration of these interpretations for how he chooses which voices receive emphasis in the various passages of Mendelssohn.

Felix Mendelssohn Symphony #1 in C Minor opens the collection with unrivaled power and passion and takes us completely by surprise. That such an uncommonly played work comes across with the combined fire of a Beethoven Symphony and the lyricism of a Schubert Symnphony is due to Mendelssohn's genius and Karajan's masterful interpretation. To have in your collection the first and last movements with their powerful codas alone is worth the price of this set (even if you have 3 and 4 already). Mendelssohn gives the T'bones some theme play in the opening of Symphony #2, which is an enjoyable work for his followers, and possibly Fidelio fans. Unfortunately, performance-wise, Berlin's ten movement Symphony #2 (yes, I said 10 movements) is the disapointment here, because, as expected, Karajan loses grace whenever solo singers were involved. But beyond that, even the instrumental movements were not delivered with the care and fore-thought of the other symphonies rendered in this set. And this was not always Karajan's fault: this is an extremely large and varied symphony to pull off well, a proverbial Bach mega-Cantata or Handel mega-Oratorio. Furthermore, the singing in this symphony is not on the same level of the playing in the other symphonies (particularly with the weak choice for Soprano-I) so the inclusion of this particular Symphony #2 is somewhat of a "mis-match" in the set. Nevertheless, the balance of the works still makes this set an interpretation of choice for Mendelssohn symphonies. The Scottish's Maestoso is very dramatic; the Italian's Saltarelo is furious, agile and extremely clean -played. Mendelssohn's 5th symphony, although a great work, is not revered for its orchestration, but Karajan and the Berliners summon a full-bodied effect in a majestic reading.

 

flac, scans

2 comments:

  1. Files 6 & 7 = Sorry, due to an unexpected error the file you are requesting is no longer available. If you are the owner of the file then please upload it again. We apologise for any inconvenience.

    Mendelssohn_-_5_Symphonien_-_Karajan.part06.rar
    Mendelssohn_-_5_Symphonien_-_Karajan.part07.rar

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  2. Newly uploaded. Please d/l ALL parts.

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