Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra / Herbert von Karajan

Albinoni: Adagio; Pachelbel: Canon

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Even though contemporary tastes for the most part have shifted away from lush orchestral versions of Baroque and Classical music, there are some listeners who still prefer to hear the warm, enveloping sound of a modern orchestra and relish hearing the music of Bach, Vivaldi, and Mozart in modern interpretations with modern instruments. This album by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic represents this once widely accepted approach, so the rich string sound of a large ensemble and the generally straightforward playing, without free ornamentation, original instruments, or improvised sections, puts this album in the conventional category that early music purists would avoid. However, Karajan was not wholly against period practices, as his use of a harpsichord and cello continuo makes clear, and his textures in Vivaldi, Gluck, and Mozart are not inordinately thick or heavy. Furthermore, Karajan takes the ubiquitous Pachelbel Canon up-tempo and even follows through with its attached Gigue, a salutory nod to historically informed practice. But this is still far from a period style collection, so listeners are advised to sample it first before committing. Deutsche Grammophon's reproduction is big and spacious, with a rounded ensemble sound.

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