Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Things to Know
Robert A. Alps | Evanston, IL United States | 07/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This DVD release should be of interest for a few reasons. First, please note that there are two Bruckner symphonies here, numbers 8 and 9. These are the same performances previously released by Sony on video. Both the 8th and 9th have appeared on VHS and Laser Disk. However, as far as I know, only the 8th has previously appeared on DVD. These recordings were made very late in Karajan's life. The next thing to note is that the audio has been reworked. My understanding is that Sony took the audio tracks and played them in the hall where the recording was originally made and re-recorded them to better capture the hall's ambience and provide a surround sound audio track. Finally, and not least importantly, the video is PAL and not NTSC and will not play on many US DVD players. Note that DG has issued a DVD set of the same symphonies with Karajan in NTSC. The performances on either Sony or DG are wonderful."
Bruckner as good as it gets
Jorma Koskinen | Finland | 06/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Look at any book of reviewed or recommended CDs and you will find the Karajan audio recordings of Bruckner symphonies 8 and 9 if not the top recommendations then very high up on the list. These 1985-88 SONY recordings are not available on other DVD discs and are not the same as the DGG issues of VPO recordings of lower technical quality from 1978-79. This symphony 9 was recorded in a live concert in the Philharmonie, Berlin, in November 1985. The real gem of this DVD disc is the recording of symphony 8, which is identical with the famous DGG CD made in the Grosser Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, in November 1988. Karajan made at least four studio recordings of this symphony between 1950 and 1988. In addition there exist several recordings from live concerts. None of these are a match to this Karajan's last performance of the Mount Everest of symphonies.
I was bowled over by the interpretation as well as the recording quality of the original DGG audio recording of symphony 8 issued in 1989, right after Karajan's death. Many authorities rate this performance not only as the greatest recording of a Bruckner symphony but as one of the best symphony recordings ever. Therefore it was extremely interesting to see this performance in video. The DVD fulfils most expectations. In this series of Karajan re-issues the engineers have made re-recordings of the sound where the original recording was played through loud speakers in the same venue to make a new surround sound digital recording (with normal PCM Stereo and Dolby Digital 5.0 sound formats) to better capture the acoustics of the hall. They almost succeeded. This DVD has a better sound and picture quality than the box of Strauss tone poems in the same series and leaves very little to be desired.
While the recording of symphony 9 by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in its home hall is first class in every way without being outstanding the recording of symphony 8 by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in its home hall is historic and in many ways almost ideal. Both picture and sound are better in the Vienna recording. Perhaps the famous Musikverein hall is easier to work in. The unique sound combination of orchestra and venue makes this a very enjoyable experience. This is technically perhaps the most successful DVD in this SONY series of Karajan performances. The augmented brass section (8 horns, 4 Wagner tubas, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones and a tuba) delivers sounds that can be both autumnally mellow and solemnly majestic. In the Adagio the Vienna strings play with a rich and even tone that in the initial sighs sounds unutterably beautiful.
For any Brucknerian this is a must-have. For Karajan fans this can be a long-awaited wish fulfilment. Others looking for excellent recordings of these symphonic masterpieces need not fear. This DVD disc can be recommended without any serious reservations. The bargain price makes the price/quality ratio almost unbeatable.