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July 14, 2006

Bum Bum Bum Bum

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Scott Esposito turns up a dynamite YouTube discovery: videos of the very commanding Herbert van Karajan conducting Beethoven's 5th (part one, part two). Great piledriving-yet-noble stuff, if not easy to make use of as background music. Scott himself recently turned in a smart and helpful appreciation of Nabokov's "Pale Fire," as well as a couple of other experimental works.



posted by Michael at July 14, 2006


This was just terrific. Thanks for sharing. If you like Beethoven's music, I would recmmend the entire Karajan/Berlin series of his symphonies. They are about as good as it gets. He did them with the Vienna Philharmonic, as well, but to my ear they aren't as bright sounding as the Berlin series.

Posted by: Charlton Griffin on July 14, 2006 5:36 PM

I enjoy classical music, but I a long way from being a connoisseur. As long as there are no sour notes I am at a loss as to whether one performance or conductor is better than another. At least if some anonymous Eastern European orchestra sounds just as good as Someone like Karajan or Bernstein I can save a tidy sum on my purchases at $4.99 per CD instead of $17.99.

Posted by: al on July 14, 2006 10:07 PM

It's always fun to watch the immortal beat time, especially with those ultra-dramatic shots of the hands. He's always looked kind of hot to me, Karajan. His tempi frequently infuriate me, though. And what an amazing orchestra. (A friend of mine said if you'd taken their instruments away it would've looked like a convention of gynecologists.)

Wonderful stuff.

Posted by: Flutist on July 15, 2006 2:51 AM

Charlton - Herbie the K did the full Beethoven cycle four, count 'em four, times. Once with the Philharmonia of London in the fifties (an underrated set), then with Berlin in the sixties, seventies, and eighties. The standard issue is the 1963 set, but I like 1977 the best; it's more over the top. He also did the Vienna recordings when he had some free time.

Speaking of Beethoven on Youtube, check out this: the supremely elegant Artur Rubinstein doing the Beethoven Fourth Concerto - one of his best interpretations IMO. Antal Dorati conducting. Three movements, one, two, three.

Posted by: Brian on July 15, 2006 10:11 PM

I'm a big Karajan fan but not so hot on the Beethoven cycle with the Berlin Phil done in the 1970s (and stay away from ALL Karajan recordings after about 1980 -- he got old). For me, the Bruno Walter recordings are overall the most satisfying.

Posted by: jult52 on July 17, 2006 8:19 AM

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