Herbert von Karajan

Karajan Forever 2008

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Deutsche Grammophon's Karajan Forever 2008 consists of 40 selections from the maestro's catalog, which amount to a generous greatest-hits package. As the conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic for three decades, Herbert von Karajan brought his interpretations of Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and modern masterpieces to a wide audience, and the sweep of this program from Bach to Prokofiev demonstrates his broad tastes and interests. The great composers are well represented here, including Mozart, Beethoven, Berlioz, Brahms, Verdi, Wagner, Tchaikovsky, Mahler, and many more, and much of their music will be familiar even to beginning classical listeners. A few ubiquitous pieces, like Pachelbel's Canon and gigue in D major and the spurious Albinoni Adagio in G minor (actually composed by Remo Giazotto), might make it seem like too many other compilations, though the album is otherwise evened out with a handful of less frequently anthologized pieces, such as the Waltz from Gounod's Faust and the Intermezzo from Schmidt's Notre Dame. DG's sound is excellent throughout, so this is a good introduction to Karajan and the exceptional recordings he made with the Berlin Philharmonic in its heyday.