I have added to my list the Karajan’ recording with Wiener Philharmonic made in April 1989, sorry I missed it initially. Karajan generally with Vienna is more interesting then with Berlin Philharmonic, not to mention that he is generally better recorded with Vienna. Karajan recorded the Seventh 15 times:
1964 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Amsterdam
1966 (Vienna) Italy Studio: Salzburg
1969 (Berlin) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1969 (Berlin) DG Studio
1971 (Berlin) DG Studio
1973 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1974 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Linz
1975 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Vienna
1975 (Berlin) DG Studio
1975 (Berlin) Radio Broadcast: Berlin
1979 (Berlin) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1980 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Salzburg
1982 (Berlin) Radio Broadcast: Lucerne
1989 (Vienna) Radio Broadcast: Vienna
1989 (Vienna) DG Studio
I did not hear all of the recordings but among what I heard the Berlin recording that was made in winter 1970-71 and the Vienna recording in 1989 the most interesting to me. It is amazing how different the Karajan Bruckner’s Seventh sound with Vienna and Berlin.
With Berlin the Seventh is large and powerful, masculine and bold. The orchestra sounds perfectly and superbly professional; the playing discipline is exemplary, with no sensible efforts or strength to play music. The Bruckner with Berlin is monumental and controlling. The Bruckner expressionism hits you with own superiority and subordinate you awareness to own force. You do not own this music; you rather are a witnessing the music and the music informs you about you nothingness and compares your nothingness with own musical greatness.
With Vienna is totally different ball game.
Vienna sounds is more feminine, softer and much more gentile. Vienna is one of the very few orchestras in the World that is capable to play very-very slow, still maintaining own energetic references to the whole, spread in time, phrases. What also Vienna is amassing in is their ability to create drama or beauty from totally nothing, without using the typical for other orchestras impressions-pumping methods. It might be a very simple phrase but Vienna can do it with such a charm that observing it and the pleasure of experiencing it become a self-contained value. The Vienna’s “jointing group”: trumpets, trombones, clarinets, bassoons, tubas and French horns and their ability to play along with the rest of orchestra I think is absolutely unmatched by any other orchestra in the world.
So, what Karajan did with Vienna in 1989? It was the typical Vienna’s parade-ole. Beautifully-slow, lush, soft, gentile and with stunning sense of balance, dazzling tone and the quality of play that is way beyond of any imaginary criticism to a group of people to play music (with some very minor problems in the mid-end of the last movement). It was Karajan’s last recording ever, so he took his time. It dose not sound like typical latest Karajan recordings – it is very different – paraphrasing Michael Corleone from “Godfather”: it has nothing to do with business - it is personal…
That personal touch of the Vienna 1989’s Bruckner Seventh is something that very much distinct it from Berlin 1971. The Berlin’s Seventh subordinate you to own glory, the Vienna’s Seventh invite to be co-witness of glory. Berlin’s Seventh informs you about your nothingness, the Vienna’s Seventh makes you a part of glory and invite to explore the gap between glory and nothingness. Berlin’s Seventh is arrogant, egotistical and superior in its capacity; the Vienna’s Seventh embraces you into own superiority and makes you sense how superiority “feels like” and enables you to compare it with you “normal” inferior state. The Vienna’s Seventh is not judgmental and not abusive. It might lack the Berlin’s testerone but it sends the same message but only via the deferent means. The Vienna Seventh’s means are the means of an orchestra that do not need already to prove anything to anybody. It creates an invitation event, it builds a fantastic Brucknerian communication bridge, and then it hangs on the bridge the Christmas tree’s ornamentation and colorful lights, proposing a listener to travel along with them to the times and the spaces where the little Austrian boy Anthon played organ in a small church and was able with the sound of his little organ to touch the voices of God...Rgs, 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