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Herbert von Karajan: The Early Lucerne Years 1952-1957 (24/48 FLAC)

Herbert von Karajan: The Early Lucerne Years 1952-1957 (24/48 FLAC)
Herbert von Karajan: The Early Lucerne Years 1952-1957 (24/48 FLAC)

Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Arthur Honegger, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer: Geza Anda, Robert Casadesus, Clara Haskil, Nathan Milstein
Orchestra: Philharmonia Orchestra, Swiss Festival Orchestra
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Number of Discs: 3
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Audite
Catalogue: AUDITE21464
Release: 2023
Size: 1.87 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01
Beethoven: Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
01. I. Allegro vivace e con brio
02. II. Allegretto scherzando
03. III. Tempo di menuetto
04. IV. Allegro vivace

Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K491
05. I. Allegro
06. II. Larghetto
07. III. Allegretto

Bach: Concerto for Two Keyboards in C major, BWV1061
08. I. (Allegro)
09. II. Adagio ovvero Largo
10. III. Fuga

CD 02
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ‘Pastoral’
01. I. Awakening of Cheerful Feelings Upon Arrival in the Country: Allegro ma non troppo
02. II. Andante molto mosso
03. III. Merry Gathering of Country Folk: Allegro
04. IV. Thunderstorm: Allegro
05. V. Shepherd’s Song. Happy and Thankful Feelings after the Storm: Allegretto

Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98
06. I. Allegro non troppo
07. II. Andante moderato
08. III. Allegro giocoso – Poco meno presto
09. IV. Allegro energico e passionato – Più allegro

CD 03
Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77
01. I. Allegro non troppo
02. II. Adagio
03. III. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace

Honegger: Symphony No. 3, H186 ‘Liturgique’
04. I. Dies Irae: Allegro marcato
05. II. De profundis clamavi: Adagio
06. III. Dona nobis pacem: Andante

“For the first time, this edition makes available Herbert von Karajan’s previously unreleased early live recordings from the Lucerne Festival, made in a decade during which Karajan was rebuilding his career. Included are legendary soloists such as Clara Haskil and Geza Anda, Robert Casadesus and Nathan Milstein. The Internationale Musikfestwochen Luzern (today’s Lucerne Festival) was the first promoter outside Austria to engage Herbert von Karajan after his performance ban and denazification proceedings, thus enabling him to return to international podiums. “I will always be indebted”, Karajan later confessed. For almost four decades, from 1948 to 1988, he was to make his mark on Lucerne Festival. His annual appearances with the Berlin Philharmonic (from 1958) enjoyed cult status. But already in the decade before, as documented by this edition, Karajan enthused audiences and critics alike in Lucerne and quickly rose to become the defining artistic personality alongside Wilhelm Furtwangler: he conducted the Philharmonia Orchestra and the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, but above all the Swiss Festival Orchestra, whom he held in high esteem and with whom he performed a total of nine concerts. The surviving Lucerne live recordings range from Bach’s C major Concerto for two Keyboards, BWV1061 (with Clara Haskil and Geza Anda), to Arthur Honegger’s Symphonie liturgique. The exciting, rhythmically tight interpretations show Karajan to be an extremely form-conscious, textually faithful conductor of great expressive power. He inspires his orchestras to deliver top performances, whilst also acting as a sensitive yet extremely present accompanist, as for instance in Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Nathan Milstein, or in Mozart’s dramatic C minor Concerto, K. 491, with Robert Casadesus. As a digital bonus, the edition also includes Bach’s Mass in B minor, which Karajan celebrated at the end of the 1951 festival with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, the Vienna Singverein and a top-class quartet of soloists (Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Elsa Cavelti, Ernst Haefliger and Hans Braun): a fascinating sonic document thanks to Karajan’s very personal approach, even if stylistically it feels far removed

Claudio Abbado’s relationship with the Lucerne Festival was famous and highly productive, not only for his many concerts with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, but also with guest orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, who appear on this CD from Audite. The recording of Franz Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B minor, “Unfinished,” dates from 1978, seven years after Abbado had become the Vienna Philharmonic’s principal conductor, while the 1988 performances of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 2 in D major and Richard Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll were recorded when Abbado had been conducting the Chamber Orchestra of Europe for nine years. These performances show responsiveness and flexibility, what one might expect from a skilled communicator like Abbado and two professional ensembles that knew the pieces thoroughly. Aside from the slight audience noise, the only quibble one might have with these live performances is Abbado’s fairly conventional approach, which was mainstream for the time, but seems a bit dated today, in light of more historically informed performances. Fans of Abbado will be the most interested in these recordings, though they are also a good introduction for newcomers to his style of conducting.

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