kakistocracy | Omaha, NE United States | 10/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This may be the fiercest, most intense performance of this symphony in modern sound, and that description tends to apply to the other performances in Karajan's last Brahms cycle. No. 4 is equally relentless (the first movement coda is astonishing), and 2 and 3 are not far behind. The orchestral playing is super, and while the sound is somewhat opaque (also, a characteristic of this composer) and stereophonically (but not dynamically) compressed, all the details register.
If this approach does not fit your conception of these works, then by all means avoid these performances; but they do present a valid and masterfully executed artistic perspective. Beware of fashionable Karajan bashing.
Addendum: Since I posted this review an even more intense performance and recording (from October 1988) by these forces in London has been issued on the Testament label. Check it out: Brahms: Symphony No. 1; Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht"
Wonderful orchestra playing beautiful music
E. Swanepoel | Toronto | 07/29/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is indeed a good recording of this lovely symphony. I must agree with one of the reviewers that it might be short measure, but then again it is digital, Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic! It is well played all round and the sound that the orchestra makes is autumnal and refined, a very Brahmsian sound. There is nothing aggressive about this interpretation only excitement and fire when the music calls for it. Highly recommended."
A great conductor and a great piece of music
Eric Schultz | Los Angeles, CA USA | 03/29/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Karajan draws out the passion and the thunder that are meant to be experienced in Brahms' first Symphony. Contrary to other reviewers, I think that Karajan's baton evokes the power and the energy that this piece is meant to display - it is not supposed to be dry and crisp, like something you might listen to in the background. This symphony is supposed to be raw emotion, which cannot be dry and crisp. It is one of my favorites, along with Beethoven's 9th and 5th, and Mendelssohn's 3rd and 4th."