Tina Morris | Rockville, MD USA | 01/29/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Purists close your eyes and ears for this one. If you are one of those people who need to have 300 year-old music performed on 300 year-old instruments by 300 year-old people (OK, I exaggerate), you will hate this performance. The Berlin Philharmonic at the peak of their "Karajan sound" capabilities throw the full weight of their symphonic splendour at this Bach program. I love it in its own right. Karajan was never known or liked for his baroque conducting, in fact he was despised for his interpretation of the Brandenburg concertos, but this is still a great, great recording, especially with the exceptional Rias Rundfunkchor performing Bach's Magnificat. Real goose-bump stuff. And we need not talk about the untarnished skills of the young Ann-Sophie Mutter playing in perfect harmony with her great menthor's conducting. If you have a Gardiner or a Hernoncourt or a Herrwhege recording of these pieces at home: go ahead, get this one, it's a guilty pleasure, but it works.
As for sound and video quality: all DVDs from this Karajan series are exceptionally good considering that the original material was recorded 20some years ago. They leave nothing to be desired."
If you like Bach . . . You'll love this!
E. P. Turner | Atlanta, GA USA | 01/30/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this DVD a delightful treat, and it has become one of my favorites. First and foremost, I am a fan of J.S. Bach, and Herbert Von Karajan. One of the bonus's here is watching the performance of Sophie Ann Mutter with this legendary conductor and the Berlin Philharmonic - in her mid-twenties. Another bonus is watching Mastro Karajan not only in his usual conducting role, but also playing the harpsichord in both pieces. Even though I have never heard the compliment of full orchestra in a Bach concerto before, I don't think Mr. Bach would have minded, and I considered it an exciting departure. The Magnificat was exceptional and if you have some good sub-woofers, you'll pick up the low 50hz organ notes that accompany this piece.The video was excellent as with most of the Sony productions, and the audio was stupendous. This was a live performance and it is about as Deutsche as it can get. Here we have a German conductor, a German violinist, conducting and playing with a German Orchestra for Germans."
George A. Chadwick | Arlington, VA | 07/16/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although this is about as far from an authentic Bach performance as you can get (the performance notes acknowledge this), it is impossible not to like the performance here, especially the Magnificat. File this performance as a big, late Karajan, symphonic Bach performance, and pick up Gardner's version when it comes out as an antidote. The only bad thing about the DVD is the hopelessly pompous performance notes. Highly recommended."
What a fatal mistake!
Marcelo Uzcategui | Quito-Ecuador | 11/12/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While I was looking in Amazon some DVD regarding to Bach's music conducted by Karajan ( which is not usual ) I saw the violin Concerto in E Major, played by Anne Sophie Mutter, I wonder, ah jah!, this performance could be very interesting, but when I start reading some of the reviews of the people , I realize that this product also contains the great Magnificat, which is one of major works of Johann Sebastian Bach together with his Passions and the Mass in B minor, this Magnificat is a beautiful piece that I was looking for in many years.
I have listened many versions of this piece since I was young, but this interpretation of Karajan caused a great impact inside me the first time I heard in LP recording, and it was a very nice surprise that the performance in this DVD is the same that I loved many years ago, what a fatal mistake of SONY not have named this masterpiece in the front of the cover. Nobody will know that is there.
The performance is excellent, the use of a great or Orchestra, doubling some instruments, like flutes and oboes, the use of organ and clavecin as a continuo, the job of the choral part (5 voices) is extraordinary specially in the "Magnificat anima mea" "Omnes generations" and the magnificent "Gloria Patri". The trumpetists play the instrument like an angels, and this has been always the orchestral vision of Karajan in most of great masterpieces of composers from Baroque to Romanticism era. The roll of the four soloist and the Berliner Filarmoniker is also extraordinary.
I am sure that Bach never could imagine the transcendence that his music would have in the future, specially these giants works. After many years of listening many many versions of his passions, I can not imaging performances of those works with little orchestras and few singers in the choral parts, using the instruments of that time, like wind instruments which sound very untuned, only for the fact that of being played with the original instruments?, that is only for puritans. You can compare the Magnificat versions of Gardiner and Karajan and you will find an abyss. I think Gardiner is quite good for English and Italian baroque and renascence music. Bach always will be much modern that in his epoch.
Finally the interpretation of the Violin concerto in E major by Anne Mutter is also a great performance, with pure sound and virtuosly well played.
I suggest to Amazon to check the searching for people who are looking for the Bach's Magnificat.