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05-12-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,603
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 2403
Reply to: 2403
The Best Of Wiener Philharmoniker

Nope, I am not going to threaten you with one of those threads “what would be the best…?” Still, the Wiener Philharmoniker has a CD of the “Best Of Wiener Philharmoniker”… witch is… surprise, surprise IS the best they play. Well, I would say that the best they play in the Stereo recording era… The selection of the material is very tasteful and the performances are fantastic. The CD were pressed by DG and do have quite reasonable quality.

The CDs is widely available in US stores. Some other CD are available from the Wiener Philharmoniker web site at and they marked as Vlolime1-5


I bought my long time ago when Wiener still did not complied those CD into volumes and mine is 00289 477 5077. I looked at the program of the other volumes and was not impressed with the programs. I do not think I would consider the Wiener Johann Strauss’ “best” without the Clemens Krauss’ New Year performances in 50s or Karajan performing the Nutcracker (unspeakable garbage). I think after releasing this initial 2CD album they turned south. Still, the first initial CD is wonderful, well worth $15.

Disc: 1
1. Beethoven: Symphony No.5 in C minor, Op.67: 1. Allegro con brio - Carlos Kleiber
2. Brahms: Violin Concerto in D, Op.77: 3. Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace - Poco più presto - Gidon Kremer / Leonard Bernstein
3. Brahms: Hungarian Dance No.5 in G minor - Fritz Reiner
4. Bruckner: Symphony No.9 in D minor: 2. Scherzo. Bewegt, lebhaft - Trio. Schnell Carlo Maria Giulini
5. Chabrier: España - Rhapsody for Orchestra - John Eliot Gardiner
6. Dvorák: Symphony No.9 in E minor, Op.95 "From the New World: 1. Adagio - Allegro molto - Herbert von Karajan
7. Haydn: Symphony in G, H.I No.94 - "Surprise": 4. Finale (Allegro di molto) Leonard Bernstein
8. Mahler: Symphony No.5 in C sharp minor / Part 3: 4. Adagietto - Leonard Bernstein
9. Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor, Op.64: 2. Andante - Nathan Milstein, violin / Claudio Abbado
10. Mozart: Piano Concerto No.21 in C, K.467: 2. Andante - Friedrich Gulda, paino / Claudio Abbado

Disc: 2
1. Mozart: Symphony No.40 in G minor, K.550: 4. Finale (Allegro assai) - Karl Böhm
2. Mozart: Violin Concerto No.1 in B flat, K.207: Allegro moderato - Gidon Kremer, violin / Nikolaus Harnoncourt
3. Mozart: Clarinet Concerto in A, K.622: 2. Adagio - Alfred Prinz, Clarinet / Karl Böhm
4. Mozart: Piano Concerto No.17 in G, K.453: 3. Allegretto - Leonard Bernstein (piano & conductor)
5. Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, Op.20 - Anne-Sophie Mutter / James Levine
6. Schubert: Symphony No.9 in C, D.944 - "The Great":3. Scherzo (Allegro vivace) Sir Georg Solti
7. Smetana: The Moldau (from Má Vlast) - Herbert von Karajan
8. Tchaikovsky: Symphony No.5: 4. Finale (Andante maestoso - Allegro vivace) - Valery Gergiev

Romy the Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-28-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Posts 77
Joined on 09-18-2005

Post #: 2
Post ID: 2599
Reply to: 2403
Decca Difference at the Wiener Philharmoniker
In listening to the very enjoyable  Best of Wiener Philharmoniker cd, the differences in sound on the two Decca tracks from the rest of the discs are quite shocking.   On my system the Decca's are especially pleasing .  The DG seem a bit removed in comparison.  This may speak volumes to some of my set up.  I wonder, are these Decca vs DG differences a matter of recording technic,  hall sound (the Decca tracks are recorded in the Sofiensaal) or is it what  Reiner and Solti created? 

07-31-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,603
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 4860
Reply to: 2403
The Vienna Philharmonic Sound

The Vienna Philharmonic sees itself as having inherited a body of instrument types which at the end of the 18th century reflected the prevailing intellectual spirit and value system, not only of central Europe, but to a certain extent of the entire continent. The emergence of national schools of composition in various countries at the beginning of the 19th century led to variations in the way instruments were constructed. The works of the French impressionists, for example, and their underlying sound concepts required not only modified instruments but also reflected a change in the attitude behind the music, which had been dominated all over Europe, at least until the French revolution, by the idea of musical rhetoric. In Vienna, this change did not take place. Viennese music remained essentially faithful to concepts of sound originating from the Viennese classics, although there were some developments.

Viennese Woodwind and Brass Instruments

There are significant differences between Viennese woodwind and brass instruments and those of other symphony orchestras. The fingering on the clarinet is different, and the mouthpiece has a different form which in turn requires a special kind of reed. The bassoon has largely the same form as the German version, but with special fingering and reeds. The trumpet has a rotary valve system and in places a narrower bore.
The trombone has a narrower bore as well which enables improved tone color and dynamics, as does the (Viennese F-) tuba, which also has a different valve system and fingering. The flute is largely the same as the conventional Böhm flute which is widely used all over the world. However, it did not replace the wooden flute in Vienna until the 1920's. Here too, as with all wind and brass instruments in the Viennese classics, vibrato is used very sparingly. Up to that time vibrato was regarded as a form of embellishment rather than a permanent way of beautifying the note and it was reserved almost exclusively for the strings. It is interesting to note that an increasing number of international wind instrument soloists are rejecting vibrato as stylistically inappropriate in their interpretations of the Viennese classics. Of course, the Vienna Philharmonic winds use vibrato in pieces where it is intended as a stylistic element.
The greatest differences between Viennese and internationally used instruments are to be found in the Viennese (F-)horn, which has a narrow bore, an extended leadpipe and a system of piston valves. The advantage of these valves is that the individual notes are not so sharply detached, making smoother legato playing possible. Viennese horns are also constructed of stronger materials than conventional double horns.

The Viennese oboe, played only in Vienna, differs from the internationally played French oboe in that it has a special bore shape, a special reed and special fingering.

With the exception of the flute and, to some extent, the bassoon, the typical differences in tone of Viennese instruments can be described as follows:
They are richer in overtones, i.e., the sound tone is brighter. They have a wider dynamic range, thus making possible greater differences between "piano" and "forte". They enable greater modulation of sound: The musician can alter the tone color in many ways.
The way an orchestra sounds is a result of tradition and the concepts of sound arising therefrom. The roots of the Viennese brass tradition are to be found in Germany. Hans Richter played a vital role in the development of this tradition. Due to him, a great many Vienna Philharmonic brass players were invited to play at the Bayreuth Festival, and numerous German brass players, mainly trombone and tuba players, were engaged to play in Vienna.

Viennese Percussion

Viennese percussion has the following unusual features: The skin of all the membraned instruments is genuine goat parchment, which gives a richer range of overtones than artificial skins (aural.at). The adjustable kettle of the Viennese timpani is pressed against the skin. The manually operated tuning screws allow greater tuning accuracy compared to instruments which are tuned with the feet. Of the various types of drum, preference is given to those which have a cylinder with no drawbar/tie rod mounting and can thus vibrate freely. Since these instruments developed from clapperless hand bells they are cast and not made of sheet metal like today's instruments. The tonal differences between these and instruments used internationally can be measured and charted using digital analysis.

Viennese Strings

In the field of the Viennese strings, which are justly famous for their sound, in-depth studies have still to be carried out. Although there is a clearly perceptible continual development there is no fully standardized Viennese violin school. There can be no doubt that the Viennese string instruments themselves, unlike the winds, are not of prime importance in producing the orchestra's unique sound. With a few exceptions, the quality of the instruments of the string section is not particularly outstanding. More important is that the string section of the Vienna Philharmonic is more like a workshop in the middle ages, where newly-arrived musicians are initiated into and absorb the secrets of the orchestra's special musical style.
Thus, an orchestral sound is created which essentially corresponds to that which the great composers of the Viennese classics, Viennese Romanticism and the 2nd Viennese School intended when they were writing their works.

The characteristic sound of the Vienna Philharmonic can be attributed in part to the use of instruments and playing-styles that are fundamentally different from those used by other major orchestras:

• The clarinet has a special fingering-system.
• The bassoon has special fingering-combinations and reeds.
• The trumpet has a rotary-valve system and a narrower measurements.
• The trombone and the tuba have a different fingering and valve-system.
• The timpani use natural goat hide instead of synthetic hide.
• The double-bass retains the traditional theater-placement in a row behind the brass.
• The Viennese oboe has a special bore, measurement, reed, and fingering-system. It is very different from the otherwise internationally used French oboe.
• The Viennese horn is a variation of the natural horn with a valved crook in F inserted, so that the chromatic scale can be played. It has a narrower measurement, longer tubing, and a piston-valve system. These valves have the advantage of providing a tone which is not so sharply defined, as well as possibilities for smoother connections between notes. Moreover, the Viennese horn is made of stronger materials than, for example, the French horn (Double Horn in both F and Bb).

These instruments and their characteristic tone-colors have been the subject of extensive scientific studies by the Associate Professor Magister Gregor Widholm of the Institute for Viennese Tone-Culture at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien.

(from different sources)

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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