Herbert von Karajan conducts the 1985 New Year's Eve Concert

Berliner Philharmoniker

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Program notes

Is there such a thing as a Karajan “sound”? Beginning toward the end of his career, Herbert von Karajan began to attract criticism for having pushed his particular obsession clarity of an orchestra’s sound to the extreme. This New Year’s concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker is typical of his later interpretive approach: Karajan draws a particular sound out of the orchestra, but he and his musicians still take care to modulate that sound according to the repertoire they are playing. Their clear and precise performance of Weber’s brilliant Freischütz Overture is followed by their hypnotic string sound in Puccini and Leoncavallo’s two Intermezzi, culminating in the progressive and determined build-up of Ravel’s Boléro.

A closer look: composers and works

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