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  • Beethoven: Symphonies & Overtures 1951-1955 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
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Beethoven: Symphonies & Overtures 1951-1955 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) Box set


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Herbert von Karajan – A Chronology
1908 Born in Salzburg on April 5. The Karajan family originally came from Macedonia in Northern Greece and bore the name Karajannis. Herbert von Karajan’s great-great-grand¬father emigrated to Saxony but eventually settled as a merchant in Vienna. For his services in the furtherance of trade and industry, Frederick Augustus, Elector of ... Read more in Amazon's Herbert von Karajan Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: Symphonies & Overtures 1951-1955 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) + Sibelius 1976-1981 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) + Brahms, Bruckner, Wagner, Strauss, Schmidt 1970-1981 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
Price For All Three: £41.15

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Product details

  • Audio CD (31 Mar. 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00HYFKJKK
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 78,129 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

WEA 2564633735; WEA ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Orchestrale

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By CVA on 25 April 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The presentation is impressive. Not only are there individualized sleeves for each disc with full track information, but they have provided different historical photos of the maestro on each. Good essay as well.

I own DG's 1960s and 1970s Karajan boxes as well. I cannot compare the remastering on these mostly mono EMI recordings of the 1950s to prior versions, as I had nothing of that vintage from EMI other than Klemperer. But being a devotee of Ferenc Fricsay, I am familiar with the audio quality of DG's 1950s mono recordings, and I was surprised about how good these sounded in terms of audio. Especially Symphony 8. The older Sym 7 and 6 not quite on par with that, I expect the tape formulation EMI used probably improved by 1955. The "new" stereo mix of the Sym 9 has more tape hiss, and less dynamic range than the standard mono version also in the box, and since channel separation was not that noticeable anyway, I do prefer the mono version.

All considered, I feel grateful that Warner has provided top-notch effort, and I am looking forward to others in the series. This is a much more distinguished effort than that of DG, who were prodded to produce their Karajan 60s/70s boxes only after the Korean versions appeared, and did NOT fulfill the effort deserved: only some of the DG 1970s recordings got OIBP remastering, for example two of the Schumann symphonies were remastered and two were not! DG, you may atone by producing a Fricsay edition using the example that Warner has provided with this!

Warner, may I please beg you to consider applying some of the same care to a remastering and reissue of the EMI Karajan operas as well? Tristan, Lohengrin, Fidelio et al. Some like Don Carlo have had post-1990 masterings, but not all.Once again, thank you for both content and presentation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Autonome on 6 Jun. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This beautiful set had been massacred by EMI engineers in 2008 and they had suppressed a good half of the music with their zealous interference.
With this new remastering, we are back to the essence of this beautiful set and the magnificent tone of the Philharmonia Orchestra is for all to hear.
I will not dwell on every symphony individually but it is easy to be impressed by the way the new mastering offers us a lot of transparency, enabling each instrument to be well-identified and to sing freely. The dynamics are beautiful and Karajan's movement is superb here. Rhythmically, this is probably the most satisfactory of all Karajan sets and the Philharmonia really sings with its conductor. Never has it been more obvious than in this remastering.
My personal favs here are 1, 2, 3, 5 & 7.
9 is really good but can't quite beat the 1947 recording with Vienna - more emotional. 4 is too slow for my taste while 6 will remain a problem for Herr K throughout his career.
As a bonus CD, Warner offers us the stereo mix of the 9th: an abomination! The sound is muffled, dry and is really confined. It is good EMI stuck with the Mono mix in the first place. EMI was unbeatable for the qualities of its mono recordings in the 1950s but was really behind DG and DECCA at the time as far as Stereo was concerned.

In any case, buy this set, now the reference for this beautiful complete Beethoven series by a young Herbert von Karajan: hear the conductor and his musicians dance, like never before (or after for that matter).
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon on 4 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD
"I don't know why you're doing this," said JL, the Chief Procurement Officer of the Australian Knappertsbusch Association, "but it's your call. Sayonara!"

With that, he sealed me into the AKA time-machine and pushed a button. Moments later, I found myself in the passenger's seat of a Bentley Mulsanne that was being driven by Richard Osborne, the court-biographer of Caesar Augustus Karajan. It was 1987. A road-sign flashed by; we were approaching the Wolfsschanze, Herbie's fortified compound on the outskirts of Anif Salzburg. Our timing was impeccable; we had calculated that at this precise moment, Dick would be travelling to meet the Maestro in order to complete Conversations with Karajan.

"Good lord," shrieked the driver in his luxurious, Oxbridge accent, "what on earth is going on!" Ever so deftly, I bundled him out of the car (at one hundred clicks per hour), assumed control of the steering-wheel and donned a Richard Osborne mask of latex. Minutes later, I stopped at the first check-point. Guards and dobermans were everywhere. Every inch of the car was combed over (evidently in the month past, a representative of DG had left behind a suitcase in a meeting with Herbie that contained a copy of Telemann: Water Music; 3 Concertos - against the odds, it had failed to detonate). Once the guards were satisfied, I was waved through to an inner check-point where the procedure was repeated. From there, it was slow progress to the front door of the Wolfsschanze as I was caught behind a Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 which was patrolling the area.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Excellent Karajan Remasterings! 22 May 2014
By Arthur Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you enjoy Karajan's recordings, don't hesitate. The remastering improved these recordings over prior reissues. If interested in Karajan's earliest Beethoven recordings, this set is a good buy.
5 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Of Vaults and Bunkers 4 Aug. 2014
By Bernard Michael O'Hanlon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
"I don't know why you're doing this," said JL, the Chief Procurement Officer of the Australian Knappertsbusch Association, "but it's your call. Sayonara!"

With that, he sealed me into the AKA time-machine and pushed a button. Moments later, I found myself in the passenger's seat of a Bentley Mulsanne that was being driven by Richard Osborne, the court-biographer of Caesar Augustus Karajan. It was 1987. A road-sign flashed by; we were approaching the Wolfsschanze, Herbie's fortified compound on the outskirts of Anif Salzburg. Our timing was impeccable; we had calculated that at this precise moment, Dick would be travelling to meet the Maestro in order to complete Conversations with Karajan.

"Good lord," shrieked the driver in his luxurious, Oxbridge accent, "what on earth is going on!" Ever so deftly, I bundled him out of the car (at one hundred clicks per hour), assumed control of the steering-wheel and donned a Richard Osborne mask of latex. Minutes later, I stopped at the first check-point. Guards and dobermans were everywhere. Every inch of the car was combed over (evidently in the month past, a representative of DG had left behind a suitcase in a meeting with Herbie that contained a copy of Telemann: Water Music; 3 Concertos - against the odds, it had failed to detonate). Once the guards were satisfied, I was waved through to an inner check-point where the procedure was repeated. From there, it was slow progress to the front door of the Wolfsschanze as I was caught behind a Sonderkraftfahrzeug 251 which was patrolling the area. I was greeted at the door by a butler clad in black and silver. From there, I was ushered through a series of rooms which contained Herbie's courtiers and cronies (yes, I said hello to Michael Glotz who was chomping on a cigar). I was then led into an underground, hermetically-sealed bunker. I passed Gela-Marine Runne on the stairs. She smiled. As found, Herbie was hunched over a control panel, fiddling with various knobs as he stared at screens above. He did not look around. A map of Russia was on a nearby table.

"Herr Richard, how good to see you! Velcome! You have come at right time. I am editing my digital cycle of Beethoven Symphonies vith the Berlin Philharmoniker. They are my best ones yet. They also feature 16-bit sound - that is Reich - sorry, state of the art! Everything else is gaslight! Look, look, look!"

I glanced at the screens. They featured footage from his film of the Eighth where Herbie was looking necrotic. Moreover, the orchestra rarely appeared in frame and when it did so, its disinterest was evident. What a train-wreck!

"Herbie - sorry, Herbert - I would not worry too much about that digital cycle. It has a stupendous Eroica and Eighth Symphony; those aside, one could argue that it was an unpropitious time to record with the orchestra. I cannot hear anything in the other symphonies that was not better said elsewhere."

Karajan scowled. Then, with an eyebrow raised to the ceiling, he swivelled around in the chair to stare me in the face.

"Herr Richard, vot is wrong with your voice? Do you have a cold? Should I fly in my personal surgeon? I have a Lear jet on stand-by! Do you vant some soup to varm you?"

"No, I'm fine, thanks Herbert! I've been spending some time in the penal colonies and somehow or other, I've picked up an Australian accent along the way. I just ate a Vegemite sandwich."

He grunted, stared at me with his metallic blue eyes and then turned back to the knobs.

"Herbert, while we're on the subject of Beethoven, allow me to be clairvoyant. You pride yourself on `shooting arrows into the future' - hence your advocacy of the compact disc before its time. Imagine this. The day will come when your mid-Fifties cycle - you remember, the one with the Philharmonia - will be remastered to 24-bit, thereby minimising much of the boxiness which has militated it since the day of its release. The mono sound comes alive - and how! At long last, it can be appreciated for the miracle that it is!"

This caught his attention. He swivelled around again. I continued.

"Some would say that notwithstanding the appeal of your `63' & '77 cycles, you were never more spontaneous in Beethoven. What virility! What drive! What spontaneity! What élan! Nothing is soupy or bloated or suave to the point of emptiness. It's like a shot of ice-cold Finnish - not Russian - vodka: how it cleanses the system! It's not hard to understand why Walter Legge regarded you as a young comet!"

"Ja, ja, ja - and did you know that I am still good friends vith Elisabeth Schwarzkopf! She is one of my biggest admirers!"

"Mmmh, yeah. I'd watch that space, Herbie! Anyway, to return to the subject at hand, this is why we listen to Beethoven - to be herocized, not entertained or amused or titillated (you're not going to believe what they do to Beethoven in the future where his symphonies are entrusted to glorified string quartets of dubious intonation!). This cycle delivers this in spades. Its wham-bang-thank-you-ma'am vitality trumps the (now relative) limitations of the sound. True, the Pastoral is streamlined and heartless (compared with '77) and the chorus in the Ninth is opaque (and in passing, the stereo transcription of the same symphony sounds synthetic in the extreme); nevertheless, these are sunspots. Every other performance - and the overtures too - is a Kesselschlacht (cauldron-battle) - and that's what you want in Beethoven! Resistance is useless - much like the opening weeks of Barbarossa!"

Herbie sprang to his feet at this point. For a moment I thought he was going to raise his right hand towards the ceiling. Much to my relief, he saw the look of horror in my eyes and aborted the gesture.

"Ok," I added, "the Philharmonia is not quite in the same league as the Berlin Philharmonic but that may not be a bad thing, not least in terms of the woodwind which are resplendent. Let me think, what analogy can I use . . . . . . it's like comparing a long-barrel, skirt-clad Panzer IV with a Tiger Tank or Jagdpanther!"

He nodded his head in understanding and appreciation. I was about to continue in this vein when the smell of paint became evident in the air. Herbie blanched. I too knew what it meant. It was time to leave. Eliette was approaching, presumably to show her latest atrocity-in-blue. Using my telepathic powers, I urged JL to return me to 2014. Seconds later, I was back in the present and gratefully so. I don't know if my advice did Herbie any good. In any event, may it serve you well.
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