Herbert von Karajan

Herbert von Karajan (Testament)

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This is the "good" 1958 Karajan recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and should not be confused with the nearly half-dozen "bad" later Karajan recordings of it. This 1958 Karajan Missa Solemnis has terrific solo singing from Schwarzkopf, Ludwig, and Gedda; superb choral singing from the Singverein der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde; tremendous playing from the Philharmonia Orchestra; and superlative early stereo sound from Walter Legge. And because Legge was the producer, this recording had someone in the studio who could at least temper -- if no longer control -- the massive and monumental Karajan ego. Because when you get right down to it, there can be no such thing as a good Karajan recording of the Missa Solemnis because the greatest thing about the work -- it's overwhelming spirituality -- is always and everywhere absent from Karajan's recordings. Because while all Karajan's recordings of the work are brilliant and beautiful, they are also spiritually vapid and void because there's just no room for Karajan's ego and anything else. And let's face it, is there anything worse than a fake spiritual experience?

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