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Herbert von Karajan Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra Schoenberg, Berg, Webern Schoenberg : ?Verklärte Nacht?Webern: ?Passacaglia?Berg: ?3 Orchestral Pieces?This album presents Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra (BPO) at their height, bringing out the pure euphoria and sensuality of the Second Viennese School. Listen to the pinnacle of orchestral art, fully restored from DG?s original analog recordings through state-of-the-art DSD mastering technology.
Distributed Exclusively by ESOTERIC COMPANY Available from mid of September, 2009

Discontinued (April, 2010)

The seminal works of Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at their height

The 4 LP box set "Second Viennese School (Berg, Webern, Schoenberg)/Karajan & Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra," originally released by Deutsche Grammophon (DG) in 1975, is a pivotal masterpiece that fully captures the superb collaboration of Karajan and the BPO at its height in the 1970s. The box set contains nine representative orchestral works by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and was recorded in between live performances held from December 1972 to February 1974. This set rivals the LaSalle Quartet's "Second Viennese School - String Quartets" (5 LP box set from DG, released in 1972) as one of the landmark collections of the 1970s. Likewise, the vinyl release of these composers' works helped them to earn greater recognition. At the time this collection was made few actual recordings of these works existed, and with little commercial profit to be expected from their release, it could be said that Karajan himself made an investment in these recordings.

Greatest orchestral works of the Second Viennese School

This album features three representative orchestral works of three composers from the box set, brilliantly capturing the lingering afterglow of the late Romantic School. This marks the first time, through the days of LP and CD, that a compilation of these works has been released. Only the genius of Karajan fully exploiting the powerful and broad dynamic range of the BPO could produce such a rich and textured sound. Particularly inspiring is the BPO string section's performance of "Verklärte Nacht" written for string orchestra, a piece reminiscent of "Tristan und Isolde". The BPO string section magnificently depicts the rich luminance of the late Romantic School, fully demonstrating the true worth of the orchestra. In Berg's "3 Orchestral Pieces" and Webern's "Passacaglia", which were composed for large triple-wind orchestra, the stunning contrast between the subtle tone variations of soft muffled sections, as light as lithophane, and the overpowering sound of the orchestra in tutti is truly remarkable. It is only fitting that these recordings be considered masterpieces, for they left an indelible mark on the celestial art of orchestra in the 20th century.

Super Audio CD/CD brings out the distinct differences of each recording site

For the three works featured in this album, the Berg piece was recorded at the Jesus Christ Church in Berlin's Dahlem district in 1972, while the Schoenberg and Webern pieces were recorded at the Philharmonic in Berlin. Though the Jesus Christ Church had served as DG's principal recording site for Karajan and the BPO, around that time the decision was made to conduct recordings at the Philharmonic, the BPO's home concert hall. This "Second Viennese School (Berg, Webern, Schoenberg)" reflects this transition. Esoteric accessed to the original materials which were recorded in 6 channel analog master tapes. The master tapes were newly mixed down to a 96kHz / 24 bit stereo master for this SA-CD project, and transfered to JVC mastering studio for the final DSD mastering. Uncompromising efforts were made at each stage of the SA-CD hybridization process to recreate the original sound. ESOTERIC's top grade equipment, such as the carefully adjusted D/A converters, rubidium clock generator, and MEXCEL cables, were fully-utilized in the DSD mastering to store all of the information from the original analog master onto disc. This technology allows one to distinguish between the two recording sites more clearly than ever: the Jesus Christ Church - one of the few sites capable of producing rich reverberation and capturing the minute differences in sound, yet plagued by poor insulation and noise from planes flying overhead - and the Philharmonic - a first-class concert hall that brilliantly captures even the faintest pianissimo.

Breathtaking beauty and the intense dramatic tension of the string ensemble (Minao Shibata)

- The performance of "Verklärte Nacht" by Karajan and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the NHK Hall in 1973 was undoubtedly the climax of the orchestra's Japan tour. The beauty of the string ensemble coupled with its intense dramatic tension took my breath away. I was completely overwhelmed by both its severity and tremendous aesthetic quality. When I first put the needle on "Verklärte Nacht", I yearned to experience that the awe and emotion I first felt when I heard the piece performed. I have listened to numerous live performance and recordings of "Verklärte Nacht" by various conductors and orchestras, and each time I have discovered something new, or some deeper sense of expression. However, I'm afraid that this new recording by Karajan may have forever denied us the chance to experience such new encounters and thrills. Though we can't really predict the feelings and emotions with which human beings will listen to music centuries from now, we do know that Karajan explored every facet of this score possible in our time, giving us the sound we hear now.

(Minao Shibata, from the liner notes
for the first Japanese version LP)

Title and track list
Arnold Schoenberg (1874 - 1951)
Verklärte Nacht op.4
nach dem Gedichten von Richard Dehmel
Revidierte Fassung für Streichorchester
1 Grave
2 Molto rallentando (100 * )
3 Pesante (201)
4 Adagio (229)
5 Adagio (370)
* Takt (Associated Music Publishers, New York)
Anton Webern (1883 - 1945)
6 Passacaglia für Orchester op.1
Alban Berg (1885 - 1935)
Drei Orchesterstücke op.6 Neufassung: 1929
7 Präludium. Langsam
8 Reigen. Anfangs etwas zögernd-Leicht beschwingt
9 Marsch. Mäßiges Marschtempo
Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan
Recording data / location:
December 6, 1973, Philharmonie, Berlin (1-5),
February 11, 1974, Philharmonie, Berlin (6),
December 8 & 9, 1972, Jesus-Christus-Kirche, Berlin (7-9)
Executive Producer: Dr. Hans Hirsch
Recording Producer: Hans Weber
Tonmeister (Balance Engineer): Günter Hermanns
Producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (ESOTERIC COMPANY)
Mastering Engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center)
■ Product ID: ESSG-90017
■ Format: SA-CD/CD Hybrid
■ Label: Deutsche Grammophon
■ DSD mastering / SA-CD layer: Stereo / CD layer: ADD
■ Deluxe Digipak packaging