Karajan and Mahler

Gustav Mahler
Karajan came late to Mahler's music after a long period of time developing the musical sound world of the great Austrian composer. After the war he had been offered the chance to do all the Mahler symphonies but declined as the rehearsal time was not sufficient.

"Mahler is very difficult for an orchestra. First, you must, as a painter would say,
make your palette. But the difficulty is great, and the greatest danger is that if
it is not well performed the music can seem banal"
Herbert von Karajan

The interpretations that gradually emerged during the 1970's and 1980's did not emphasise the modernistic features of this music. In fact, by stressing the romantic elements, Karajan's performances often looked backwards thus seeing Mahler's music as a great conclusion to 19th-century Romanticism.


Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
1970 14th December (B.P.O. Ludwig,Spiess,Laubenthal) Arkadia: Berlin
1972 27th August (B.P.O. Ludwig,Kollo) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1973 7th - 10th December (B.P.O. Ludwig,Kollo) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin
1978 4th January (B.P.O. Baltsa,Winkler) Radio Broadcast: Berlin
1978 14th May (B.P.O. Baltsa,Winkler) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg

Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children)
1974 8th - 9th May (B.P.O. Ludwig) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin

1974 8th - 9th May (B.P.O. Ludwig) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin Note: Recording completed on 4th October 1974.

Symphony No 4
1979 22nd January - 24th February (B.P.O. Mathis) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin
1980 26th January (B.P.O. Mathis) Radio Broadcast: Berlin
1980 2nd April (B.P.O. Mathis) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg

Symphony No 5
1973 13th - 16th February (B.P.O.) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin
1973 17th February (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Berlin
1973 28th August (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1974 22nd June (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Vienna
1978 15th May (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg Click to hear short extract.

Symphony No 6
1975 20th January - 20th February (B.P.O.) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin Note: Recording completed in February and March 1977.
1977 3rd April (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1977 17th June (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Paris
1977 27th August (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1978 13th May (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg

Symphony No 9
1979/80 November - September (B.P.O.) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin
1982 10th April (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg Note: Recording incomplete; also rehearsal extracts.
1982 1st May (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Berlin Note: B.P.O. Centenary Concert.
1982 27th August (B.P.O.) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1982 30th September (B.P.O.) Deutsche Grammophon: Berlin Note: Live recording from 1982 Berlin Festival


Das Lied von der Erde (The Song of the Earth)
1960 28th February Berlin (B.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Konya)
1960 29th February Berlin (B.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Konya)
1960 1st March Berlin (B.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Konya)
1960 18th June Vienna (V.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Wunderlich)
1960 19th June Vienna (V.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Wunderlich)
1960 26th June Vienna (V.P.O. Rossl-Majdan,Dermota) Note: Performance to mark the centenary of Mahler's birth.
1970 14th December Berlin (B.P.O. Ludwig,Spiess,Laubenthal)
1970 15th December Berlin (B.P.O. Ludwig,Spiess,Laubenthal)
1972 27th August Salzburg (B.P.O. Ludwig,Kollo)
1972 4th September Edinburgh (B.P.O. Ludwig,Kollo)
1978 4th January Berlin (B.P.O. Baltsa,Winkler)
1978 5th January Berlin (B.P.O. Baltsa,Winkler)
1978 14th May Salzburg (B.P.O. Baltsa,Winkler)

Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer)
1955 12th March Chicago (B.P.O. Brice)
1955 22nd March Syracuse, N.Y. (B.P.O. Brice)

Symphony No 4
1980 26th January Berlin (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 27th January Berlin (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 2nd April Salzburg (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 6th April Salzburg (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 17th May Vienna (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 21st June Amsterdam (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 28th August Salzburg (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 31st August Lucerne (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 20th October Bern (B.P.O. Mathis)
1980 26th October Mannheim (B.P.O. Mathis)

Symphony No 5
1973 17th February Berlin (B.P.O.)
1973 18th February Berlin (B.P.O.)
1973 28th August Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1974 23rd June Vienna (B.P.O.)
1977 9th December Berlin (B.P.O.)
1977 10th December Berlin (B.P.O.)
1977 11th December Berlin (B.P.O.)
1978 1st January Berlin (B.P.O.)
1978 15th May Salzburg (B.P.O.)

Symphony No 6
1977 19th February Berlin (B.P.O.)
1977 20th February Berlin (B.P.O.)
1977 21st February Berlin (B.P.O.)
1977 3rd April Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1977 8th April Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1977 13th June London (B.P.O.)
1977 17th June Paris (B.P.O.)
1977 27th August Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1977 1st September Lucerne (B.P.O.)
1977 29th December Berlin (B.P.O.)
1978 13th May Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1979 17th October Tokyo (B.P.O.)
1982 17th September Berlin (B.P.O.)

Symphony No 9
1982 31st January Berlin (B.P.O.)
1982 5th April Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1982 10th April Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1982 1st May Berlin (B.P.O.)
1982 3rd May Vienna (B.P.O.)
1982 27th August Salzburg (B.P.O.)
1982 30th September Berlin (B.P.O.)
1982 23rd October New York (B.P.O.)
1982 31st October Pasadena, Ca. (B.P.O.)