Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Herbert Von Karajan - His Legacy for Home Video Tchaikovsky - Symphony No 5|
Actor: Herbert von Karajan
Genres: Music Video & Concerts, Musicals & Performing Arts
Herbert Von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic
Dr. Christopher Coleman | HONG KONG | 05/29/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Tchaikovsky's Fifth is widely considered the least of his three great symphonies. It seems to rest somewhat uncomfortably alongside the more significant Fourth and Sixth Symphonies, but trying to pin down the distinction is difficult. The Fifth, like the Fourth, is a 'Motto' symphony, with a theme that begins the piece and repeats in each of the four movements. I suspect it is this repeated theme that may be the source of the problem--the Motto of the Fifth Symphony is less dramatic than the 'Fate' fanfare of the Fourth, and the way it is grafted onto the Sonata structure is not always convincing. It serves as a functional introduction to the first movement, then that movement proceeds in regular sonata form as though the Motto had not ever appeared. The Motto then makes a noisy interruption to the slow movement, is tagged on to the Waltz, and is convincingly developed only in the Finale. I've tried to imagine this piece without the appearances of the Motto in the first three movements, and although it is doubtlessly arrogant of me to think so, it seems to work much better. Regardless, to concentrate on that theme to the exclusion of the rest of the piece is to miss some of Tchaikovsky's best, most interesting music. Listen, for example, to the beginning of the second movement, with its gorgeous string harmonies and the beautiful horn solo. I'm sure you'll agree that this is lovely music indeed. The Waltz, too, with its notable idiosyncratic bassoon solo following after the first theme, is delightful. And the second theme of the Finale, presented first in the woodwinds, starts with such an interesting harmonic and melodic shift that it always sounds fresh and original, no matter how many times I hear the piece.This recording is a DVD, not a CD, but nothing more is included than the live concert performance--no real extras or special features (even though the box claims a few--but I really don't think you can call paper programme notes or the ability to punch up particular tracks "special features"!), although the printed programme notes are good. The concert was recorded in 1984, five years before Von Karajan's death, and displays him at the height of his musical powers. Leaning far forward, with his shock of white hair, brooding Austrian brow and jutting lower lip, conducting low with his arms bowed out at the elbows, I couldn't help but think of a powerful silverback gorilla leading his tribe. Practically sacrilegious, I know, but I couldn't escape the image. Although both Von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic are superb, the recording quality is not always the best. Although the tone of the lower strings is rich and full, there seems to be a bit of upper register noise interference. Balance is occasionally a problem, especially with the flutes whose solo lines are almost covered several times. As in most live concert recordings, there is some audience noise, coughing and so forth--it's not overmuch but some may find it distracting. Camera angles are excellent, and like other Von Karajan videos there is a great effort made to concentrate on the musicians and not extraneous things like the hall or the audience. Most of the shots are close-up, and special care is taken so that in all but the widest shots no music stands can be seen--as though the entire orchestra is playing by memory! All in all, this is a rather nice product, one that Tchaikovsky lovers and Von Karajan fans will definitely desire."
Dr. Christopher Coleman | 02/12/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First opening of this symphony... the clarinets sound great!!!
such warmth and the resonance of the sound!!
The home of Vienna Philharmonic, Musikvereign is a legendary hall.
I got to play there once and the hall makes you sound soooo good.
The trumpets are too loud at times though in this recording.
Karajan's interpretation is good and the orchestra sounds very good...
Don't hesitate to get this recording"