Analogphonic / Deutsche Grammophon - LP43036 - 180 Gram Virgin Vinyl
1st time on vinyl - Limited Edition - Mastered by Maarten de Boer
Pressed at Pallas Germany - DG 439 024-1
Audiophile 180g Virgin Vinyl Cut at Pauler Acoustics
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In 1982, the BPO's centenary year, Mahler's Ninth was played in an unforgettable series of concerts in Salzburg, Berlin and New York. Two things were evident in the momentous first performance in Salzburg in April 1982. First, Karajan was bringing an added toughness and truculence to the opening measures of the second movement, strengthening still further an already masterly unfolding of Mahler's powerfulessay in the metamorphosis of the dance. Secondly, the LP recording was no studio fabrication. Schwalbe and his men really did play the work from first note to last with a degree of technical address which, by normal standards of human perfectibility, was well-nigh incredible.
As the 1980 LP recording was not in digital sound and as the reading had itself evolved, Karajan seems to have needed little persuasion to allow the taping of the final, Berlin performance in 1982, I say performance advisedly, for what we have here is a single performance, though the dress rehearsal was taped as a precaution and used (I would suspect in the concluding Adagissimo) whereaudience of platform noise was likely to be damagingly intrusive. The result is again exceptional. Certainly this is the finest live performance of a Mahler symphony to have appeared on any kind of record since Mengelberg's 1939 account of the Fourth Symphony. - The Gramophone Magazine
Von Karajan came to Mahler late in his career. Let’s agree to pretend that anti-Semitism had nothing to do with it. In any case, I remember not liking his first recorded effort—the Fifth Symphony, from 1973. The textures were too thick, too carpeted and beautiful; he didn’t seem to have a handle on the pungently aerated style, the true Mahler sound. The later performances of other works were better, but this Ninth—the greatest of all Mahler symphonies—is pretty much amazing from beginning to end (it’s the consensus choice). Von Karajan had always possessed an absolute sense of pulse. He doesn’t rush through those long, excruciating climaxes in the first movement, when the music seems to be tearing itself apart; he holds a steady course, and you hear everything, with no loss of power. The solo playing is incomparable, the Berlin strings consoling. The peasant-dance second movement is a little slower than that of other conductors, but the detail—those trills in the horns and winds—are biting; the famously difficult-to-play scherzo as viciously annihilating as you could want, and the finale is one of the greatest things von Karajan ever did.
There is the enormous, shaded, songful sonority of the strings; the frozen interludes (very still, like some sort of futuristic music from an outer galaxy); and then the wrenching climax—one of the truly apocalyptic moments in all music—followed by the release from that catastrophe, as the horns sing out in what feels like a defiant affirmation in the face of death, before the music fades away. New Yorker
Herbert von Karajan, conductor
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)
Symphony No. 9
1. Andante Comodo
2. Im Tempo Eines Gemaechlichen Laendlers. Etwas Taeppisch Und Sehr Derb
3. Rondo-Burleske. Allegro Assai. Sehr Trotzig.
4. Adagio. Sehr Langsam Und Noch Zurueckhaltend
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