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Berg, Schoenberg, Webern/Karajan

David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality:

Sound Quality:

Remember Herbert von Karajan? Perhaps it was inevitable that after his death his reputation would fall into something of an eclipse, but given the size of his discography the classical music world’s shortness of memory is rather breathtaking. Make no mistake: he was a great conductor, though not necessarily in the repertoire he recorded most frequently. But thanks to Arkivmusic.com’s “on demand” program, some of his best titles remain available to a new generation of collectors. Here is one.

Karajan reportedly felt so strongly about his recordings of the Second Viennese School that he agreed to finance them himself when DG balked at picking up the tab. These are great performances, to be sure. Indeed, there may be some others that are comparable, but none are superior. The Berg pieces never have sounded so decadently beautiful, nor the Webern so passionately intense, or the Schoenberg so, well, just plain listenable. The Berlin Philharmonic strings make their usual luscious sounds, but here the winds, brass, and even percussion rise to the occasion as well. And sonically these were always some of Karajan’s best efforts. Essential, then, and a perfect way to get to know these three composers on a single disc.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: This One

ANTON WEBERN - Passacaglia
ALBAN BERG - Three Pieces from Lyric Suite; Three Pieces for Orchestra
ARNOLD SCHOENBERG - Variations for Orchestra

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