Herbert von Karajan

Mozart: Requiem

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These performances of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Requiem in D minor, K. 626, and his Mass No. 15 in C major, "Coronation," K. 317, date from September 1975, and though the recordings are decent for Deutsche Grammophon's analog technology of the time, listeners who are accustomed to the full digital experience may find they are a bit limited in range, soft-focused, and spatially shallow in this remastered edition. This doesn't really aid an appreciation of the performances by the Wiener Singverein and the Berlin Philharmonic, conducted by Herbert von Karajan, which already tend toward a rich, overly Romantic tone and heavy textures that have become quite thickened here. Of course, devotees of Karajan will be familiar with the fat sound and will want to have this disc in spite of its lack of crispness and its excessive weightiness. As part of the 2008 celebrations surrounding the centennial of Karajan's birth, this reissue is also included as the ninth volume in the 10-CD Master Recordings box set, so aficionados of the conductor will likely snap it up without question. Others may wish to have it for the vocals of soprano Anna Tomowa-Sintow, contralto Agnes Baltsa, tenor Werner Krenn, and bass José van Dam, who form a finely blended and warm quartet that brings some much-needed light and clarity to the otherwise ponderous and murky-sounding performances.

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