Bruckner: Symphonies 7, 8 & 9, Te Deum - Karajan

Bruckner: Symphonies 7, 8 & 9, Te Deum - Karajan

Universal (Japan)  UCGG-9117/9 (3 discs)

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral

Bruckner: Symphonies 7-9, Te Deum
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll

Anna Tomowa-Sintow (soprano)
Agnes Baltsa (alto)
Peter Schreier (tenor)
José van Dam (bass)
Wiener Singverein
Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan (conductor)

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Analogue recording

Recorded in January 1975 (Symphony No. 8); in April 1975 (Symphony No. 7); in September 1975 (Symphony No. 9) and in May 1976 (Te Deum) at the Philharmonie, Berlin, Germany, 16/44.1

Producer: Dr. Hans Hirsch

Recording producers: Magdalene Padberg and Michel Glotz

Balance engineers: Klaus Hiemann (Te Deum) and Günter Hermanns (Te Deum and the Symphonies)

Remastered at DSD 64fs in 2017 by Emil Berliner Studios, Berlin, Germany, using the original analogue master tapes of DG.
Comments (7)

Comment by aquarius510123 - January 31, 2018 (1 of 7)

Symphonies 7 and 8 are NOT the more highly regarded versions that were recorded by Karajan in the late 80's with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

Comment by Ramesh Nair - February 28, 2018 (2 of 7)

I just received this set. Disc 1 also includes Karajan's recording of Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, from 1977. Confusingly the front cover art of this 3 SACD set makes no mention of its inclusion. I dimly recall that the Bruckner 7 was originally issued on a double LP set with the Wagner on side 4, which would explain its appearance on the disc.
This performance of the Siegfried Idyll is marvellous. It's well-groomed as was Karajan's style, yet lacks the mannerisms of excess string legato playing that marred many individual movements of his later recordings of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms. It lasts for 19'34'', which is a good three minutes more leisurely than Toscanini's celebrated 1930s NYP recording. The flute in particular is sublime. I wondered whether the performer was James Galway, who was a member of the BPO for a number of years. If so, he was yet to develop the somewhat 'pingy' sound that characterised his later solo-superstar recordings.

Comment by Athenaeus - April 11, 2019 (3 of 7)

Does anyone know why Symphonies 1, 2 and 3 were never released on SACD? They were also part of Karajan's Bruckner cycle with the Berlin Philharmonic.

Comment by Contrapunctus - April 11, 2019 (4 of 7)

Symphonies 1-3 were recorded digitally in PCM (16/44.1). Especially No.1 suffers a lot from the new digital technology (strings sound horrible and distorted). No.2 is my favorite among the three - sound is acceptable and orchestral playing is amazing.

I think that these recording's capabilties are limited if converted/upsampled to SACD. Nevertheless Esoteric (Japan) is quite engaged in producing SACDs derived from digital recordings (e.g. Bruckner 8 VPO/Karajan). And even Universal Music Japan LLC produced some SHM-SACDs with digital recordings (Sibelius: orchestral works/Karajan/BPO; Grieg: Peer Gynt Suites/Karajan/BPO).

It's a bit tragic with all these early digital recordings of the 1980's (mostly PCM 16/44.1). It's almost impossible to improve them in terms of more resolution.

Comment by Athenaeus - April 11, 2019 (5 of 7)

Thank you, Contrapunctus, for your prompt and informed reply. I guess then we should applaud Universal Japan and Emil Berliner Studios for not having released these as SACDs. It would have been easy for them to make a few extra bucks by also releasing Symphonies 1 to 3 in order to complete the set, even though the result would not have been up to standard.

Comment by Sinclair - June 1, 2019 (6 of 7)

I, too, was wondering why Nos 1 to 3 had not been released; now I know why. I have the set of Karajan's 4, 5 & 6 (mainly for the glorious account of No. 5), which all sound very good on SACD (although when you play No.5 alongside the original LP version, you realise how good LP is). I would also not buy the set of 7 - 9; as has been stated the later VPO versions of 7 & 8 are superior and I wouldn't spend the money just to have No. 9 on SACD. Shame that 1 to 3 hit the early digital era...

Comment by John Proffitt - June 8, 2019 (7 of 7)

Re Symphonies 1 - 3: as early digital recordings, it is almost certain that DG would have recorded the sessions simultaneously with analogue tape safety copies. It would be possible to get far superior sounding results for Symphonies 1 - 3 were DG to go back to the analogue safety tapes. However, these were likely raw session tapes, unedited, which would be a big expense to now edit and transfer to high-resolution digital. So...highly unlikely.