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Karajan The Legendary Decca Recordings [Box set]

Herbert von Karajan Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: 26.75 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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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

Karajan The Legendary Decca Recordings + Karajan: The Complete EMI Recordings Vol. 1 + Karajan: The Complete EMI Recordings Vol. 2
Price For All Three: 239.03

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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Feb 2008)
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B00114LF4E
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 7,124 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory Karajan in Vienna 23 Mar 2008
Format:Audio CD
Among the many re-editions that will mark Karajan's 100th anniversary year this 9-CD box assembling all his recordings with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 1959 and 1965 undoubtedly takes first place. Nothing of the 11 hours here is without interest, most of it is indispensable listening, even when seen in the light of forty or so following years of recording, including Karajan's own. There have been countless releases of Mozart's 40th, Beethoven's 7th symphony or Strauss's "Zarathustra" ever since, on traditional or period instruments, but very few can attain the continuous state of grace that Karajan demonstrates in these Vienna recordings.

Besides the admirable variety in repertory that Karajan took under his caring wings (from his personal favourites like Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss to the less obvious choices like Adolphe Adam, Gustav Holst), perhaps the most pleasant surprise when browsing through this box comes from the overall sound picture which is markedly different from what we would later (in the more numerous and prominent Deutsche Grammophon and EMI discs with the Berliner Philharmoniker) come to recognize, like it or not, as the typical "Karajan sound". Helped by a truly inspired Decca engineering team, these recordings not only amply stand the test of time in presence and dynamics, but more importantly the characteristic colour, refinement and transparency of the Wiener Philharmoniker are miraculously rendered. The silken sound of the strings, the individual colour of the woodwinds and the brass are a constant pleasure. It seems Karajan at this stage of his career and with this particular orchestra was still suggesting rather than dictating, but the result is by any means outstanding.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those who do not like Karajan 26 Jun 2014
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I am not a fan of Karajan because I was allowed to be influenced by negative biased comments of so called reviewers in well known musical magazine.I bought the Karajan 60 box set and very impressed with the fantastic sound and playing.This is one box set that I am pleased and progressing with listening to one cd per day and so far I am not disappointed.Sometimes we allow critics to stop buying certain cd but now I alway maintain let your ears be the judge.No one go to concert with a score and shout whenever the Conductor make a mistake or go to a restaurant with the menu of the food that you ordered and compare whether the cook has stick to the menu.We listen to music for enjoyment and for relaxation.On the strength of this box set I bought Karajan the legendary recording,a 9 cd box set,this box set is a must for those who is allergic to Karajan.I thoroughly enjoyed it.The sound is glorious and crystal clear . I never like ballet music and the ballet music contained in the box I really enjoyed it..Personally I would recommend this box set and you can buy Karajan 60 box set and the sound in this box set is superior to EMiI .Buy this box set and you will really enjoy it .The price is very reasonable.If you do not enjoy it then let me know why and response from music lovers and critic,criticise thing you do not understand as Bob Dylan said in one of his song.Bob who ....
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable Standard Set By All Concerned in these Classic Decca Recordings of Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic 22 Mar 2008
By Doug - Haydn Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
As well detailed by Santa Fe Reviewer, this set represents a remarkable standard of playing and recording. I currently own several of these performances and can only add to the praise.

A few additional points:

The Holst Planets here offered is the recording that set that work free from any residual insularity associating it with other British symphonic works of its time, such as the the Elgar symphonies. As everyone knows it's now a huge concert and recorded favorite around the world. Although there have been many recordings since Karajan's with the Vienna this breakthrough issue remains one of the very finest. Karajan's ability as a great conductor in what was unfamilair territory is here most evident.

Also not to be overlooked is the ballet music. Karajan was perhaps at his very best in the big Tchaikovsky ballets, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, and these selections do not disappoint. The Giselle is also suprisingly well-done, with the Vienna Philharmonic bringing a lusty richness to a score too often under-played.

The Strauss selections showcase beautiful sound along with fine performances by a master in this music. Karajan was one of the premiere specialists in the music of Richard Strauss, and hearing him lead the sensationally recorded Vienna Philharmonic in these delectably decadent symphonic tone poems can only be described as a truly sybaritic experience!

Over the years I have come to appreciate Karajan's Brahms more than I did as a young listener, when Brahms symphonies meant Furtwangler, Klemperer or Toscanini. On these works Karajan does an excellent very musical job, and the Vienna catches just the right darker Autumnal tone for these elegaic-laced works.

The Grieg was also a Karajan 'Specialitie de la Maison', and receives a fine ambient recording in a style Decca would develop and carry over in their excellent sounding Sibelius recordings made a few years later with the Vienna under Maazel.

Karajan's first major phase as a recording artist begins with his time with the Philharmonia and EMI during the fifties. Many of those fine performances are currently available. This Decca nine CD set capturing the complete second major stage of Karajan's recording career with the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of Decca's legendary engineers gives us another look at the legacy of this dominating figure from the second half of the 20th century's classical music scene.

I was delighted to find this listing and send this set out as a present - it's makes a superb gift!
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revelatory Karajan in Vienna 23 Mar 2008
By Marc Haegeman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I can only join in the chorus of praise. Among the many re-editions that will mark Karajan's 100th anniversary year this 9-CD box assembling all his recordings with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 1959 and 1965 undoubtedly takes first place. Nothing of the 11 hours here is without interest, most of it is indispensable listening, even when seen in the light of forty or so following years of recording, including Karajan's own. There have been countless releases of Mozart's 40th, Beethoven's 7th symphony or Strauss's "Zarathustra" ever since, on traditional or period instruments, but very few can attain the continuous state of grace that Karajan demonstrates in these Vienna recordings.

Besides the admirable variety in repertory that Karajan took under his caring wings (from his personal favourites like Mozart, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Richard Strauss to the less obvious choices like Adolphe Adam, Gustav Holst), perhaps the most pleasant surprise when browsing through this box comes from the overall sound picture which is markedly different from what we would later (in the more numerous and prominent Deutsche Grammophon and EMI discs with the Berliner Philharmoniker) come to recognize, like it or not, as the typical "Karajan sound". Helped by a truly inspired Decca engineering team, these recordings not only amply stand the test of time in presence and dynamics, but more importantly the characteristic colour, refinement and transparency of the Wiener Philharmoniker is miraculously rendered. The silken sound of the strings, the individual colour of the woodwinds and the brass are a constant pleasure. It seems Karajan at this stage of his career and with this particular orchestra was still suggesting rather than dictating, but the result is by any means outstanding.

It's tough with such a box of goodies but if I had to point out a few favourites they would be Mozart's 40th symphony, unequalled by the orchestral balance, the phrasing and pulse (how this Mozart sings!), the quality of the strings; Tchaikovsky's ballet suites, a delight of colour, evocative power and atmosphere; Adam's "Giselle", by any means the most characterful stand-alone recording of this lovely ballet score which Karajan turns into a masterpiece; Richard Strauss's "Death and Transfiguration", a miracle of orchestral transparency, unravelling the multiple layers of sound to perfection and brought with un unfailing sense of drama.

As Doug-Haydn Fan rightly points out this box of "Legendary recordings" is a superb gift. Even if one already possesses several other recordings of the works included here, it might still prove a revelation.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic bargain 27 April 2008
By Stephen Chakwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As one of the earlier reviewers noted, this set is being offered at less than the price of Naxos discs and it has music-making far beyond what might be expected from a budget reissue.
I got the UK issue of this set a couple of years ago when most of these recordings were not available in the US. I've gotten so much pleasure from them since that I wish I had thought to buy them earlier.
The sound is very present and very accurate. It's always a pleasure. The VPO playing is also a constant joy. This set catches that orchestra in transition from its more traditional older sound that you can hear on recordings going back to before World War II and the more up-to-date sound that it later took on. Back when Karajan was making these recordings, the orchestra was still using valve trombones and its own distinctive tubas. It may still have been using wooden flutes, at least for some of the recordings.
There are sounds on these discs that are like nothing else on record: The almost vocal quality of the horns and strings at the end of the Brahms 3 - you could almost mistake them for a wordless chorus; the sheer mindless brutality of Mars; the gutty tug of the double basses in the slow movement of the Haydn Drumroll.
I don't think that the Beethoven 7 is Karajan's best recording of the piece, but it's far from shabby. The two Haydn symphonies, on the other hand, are far more compelling than his remakes in Berlin later in his career.
The Giselle - beautiful and elegant here - is also the subject of a famous story. It appears that the decision to record it was a spur-of-the-moment inspiration and the orchestral parts had to be shipped in. For some reason, they could not be sent as a unit and so appeared movement (or section) by movement with conductor and orchestra having the time of their lives essentially sight-reading the music with the mikes on. The joy and freshness of that experience lives on in the recording here.
9 discs at a time is a bit of a big gulp, but in this uncertain age, recordings don't stay in print long. This is a leap worth taking and one that brings with it hours and hours of musical rewards.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasury of Karajan and the Vienna Phil. 1959-65 15 Mar 2008
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Decca has kept Karajan's opera recordings in print but been very sketchy wth his orchestral work for their label. Compared with his hundreds of releases for EMI and DG, Karajan made about a dozen hours of symphonic recordings for Decca in a brief span between 1959 and 1965, but they are special because all feature the Vienna Phil. This was Karajan's second orchestra, as it was for Furtwangler before him. But that's not to imply that there was lack of affinity between conductor and musicians: Karajan was an Austrian, after all, and to my mind the stylistic match is perfect. The delicious string tone in the Dvorak 8th, for example, could only be Viennese, and Karajan is isnpired to give a warm, flexible reading -- his best on disc. There are drawbacks, however, as in a Brahms First that seems mushy and mannered, a surprise from this master Brahmsian.

These 9 CDs are offered at super-budget price (cheaper than Naxos!), and each deserves five stars, with the possible exception of the Haydn "Drumroll" and "London" symphonies, which sound overblown and outdated, however elegant Karajan's touch may be. For many the high point will be the Strauss recordings, both Johann and Richard. This famous Zarathustra still sounds magnificent, but so do Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegel, and the Johann Strauss items. Almost without exception these readings are warmer than those from Berlin, and Karajan's tendency toward glossy surfaces at the expense of meaning is not in evidence. As one would expect from Decca, the sonics are excellent, and I'm glad that the producers didn't scrub out so much tape hiss that the treble was compromised. Strangely, there's no indication of any remastering, even though at least half these performances have previously appeared -- or currently appear -- in updated versions.

The complete listing of works is as follows:

Brahms:
Symphony No.1 in C minor, Op.68
Symphony No.3 in F major, Op.90
Tragic Overture, Op.81

Haydn:
Symphony No.103 in E flat major, "Drumroll"
Symphony No.104 in D major, "London"

Mozart:
Symphony No.40 in G minor, K550
Symphony No.41 in C major, K551 "Jupiter"

Tchaikovsky:
Romeo and Juliet - Fantasy Overture
Suite from "Swan Lake"
Suite from "The Nutcracker"
Suite from "Sleeping Beauty"

Beethoven:
Symphony No.7 in A major, Op.92

Dvorak:
Symphony No.8 in G major, Op.88

Adam:
"Giselle"

Grieg: Excerpts from "Peer Gynt" Op.23

Holst:
The Planets, Op.32

J. Strauss II:
Excerpts from Die Fledermaus
Annen-Polka
Overture (Der Zigeunerbaron)
Auf der Jagd - Polka
Tales from the Vienna Woods

Jospeh Strauss:
Delirien-Walzer

R. Strauss:
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op.28
Salome - Dance of the Seven Veils
Don Juan, Op.20
Tod und Verklärung, Op.24
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op.30
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Reissue But Disappointing Presentation 15 May 2008
By Thomas Baker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
These are all wonderful performances from the peak of Karajan's career, and fabulous Decca recorded sound that has rarely if ever been surpassed in almost 50 years since. I even enjoyed the two Brahms symphonies more than some other reviewers seem to have.

I was, however, disappointed in the accompanying booklet, which did not seem very complete or adequate for a box like this. There's a general essay about Karajan's career, but nothing about the circumstances of these particular recordings. The booklet also omits specific recording dates and production credits -- certainly not up to the standards of DG's "Originals" series or other historical reissues. Nevertheless, if you know any of these recordings or are just wondering what all the fuss is about on the 100th anniversary of Karajan's birth, grab this before it disappears!
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