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I have in my library, 14 recordings of this magnificent edifice, so you won't be surprised that it's one of my musical holy grails. It's sprawling yet miraculously taut structure provides one of the truly universal challenges for a conductor. However, its sheer length can easily spiral out of focus, where the ultimate climax ends up sounding incongruous and disproportionate, like just another climax tacked on to all the others. Keeping hold for some 80 minutes to that logical yet inevitable journey to the summit, requires prodigious artistic planning, sweeping vision, and such structural acumen on the part of the conductor! In my impressionable youth, I imprudently allowed myself to buy into all that superman, God-like hype surrounding von Karajan. Predictably, I spent up big, and still have dozens of his records lying around my house. However, somewhere in my late 20s, I began to tire of his ultra-smooth and seamless interpretations that robbed the music of all its character and interest, all replaced by his chromium steel, super-polished interpretations, with no spikes of interest, and wholly extinguished musical fires! Of this recording of the Bruckner 8th, I was somewhat reluctant to buy this download, but decided to give ol' Herbie one last chance to redeem himself - in my eyes at least. Sadly, rather than ‘redeeming’, he ‘cemented’ my long held views, and for me, this reading is flat and impotent, where von Karajan never once ignites this towering masterpiece. If you are looking for a genuinely great Bruckner 8th, try the Knappertsbusch on this site. It’s leagues above this, and indeed, Knappertsbusch is arguably the greatest interpreter of Bruckner (and Wagner!) there is. For me, worth neither the trouble nor the expense. Gil Sullivan
Artist(s): Conductor - Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra – Berliner Philharmoniker
Recording Info: Recorded by EMI May 1957
Engineer – Horst Lindner
Producer – Fritz Ganss
I: Allegro Moderato 17:00
II: Scherzo: Allegro Moderato - Trio: Langsam 16:02
III: Adagio. Feierlich Langsam, Doch Nicht Schleppend 27:35
IV: Finale. Feierlich, Nicht Schnell 26:17