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Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Wagner 1951-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) Box set


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Mozart, Schubert, Brahms, Strauss, Wagner 1951-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) + Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky 1949-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) + Bach, Beethoven, Brahms - Choral Music 1947-1958 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
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Product details

  • Audio CD (28 April 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 11
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Warner Classics
  • ASIN: B00IRHGY8U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 134,714 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

WEA 2564633623; WEA ITALIANA - Italia; Classica Orchestrale

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER on 13 Nov. 2014
Format: Audio CD
There are definitely some oddities about the way Warner have divided up the Karajan legacy. Why, for instance, is Richard Strauss not included in the box entitled Orchestral Spectaculars, but Sibelius and Vaughan Williams are? Apparently everything has been freshly remastered, the boxes divide recordings thematically and chronologically, and many CDs can be sourced individually as mid-price imports, so this is definitely an improvement on the 2008 reissue. It has to be pointed out that the box design carries an annoying flaw. The cardboard sleeves have the disc number printed on the bottom right corner - precisely where it cannot conveniently be read as you sift it for the disc you want to hear. Everyone else who ever did a box-set has the number in the top-left corner. Details matter.

Customers who invested in EMI's long-box of HvK's orchestral recordings found themselves stuck with up to three recordings of the same symphony, overture or polka. Anyone who today chooses this 12CD box of music rec.1951-60 will get a dose of the same medicine. The booklet notes try to make a virtue of this: the opportunity to compare the London Philharmonia sound with that of the Berlin Philharmonic. One has to wonder, indeed, at what EMI/Karajan were doing, remaking Eine Kleine Nachtmusik in 1959, just six years after the London sessions. It must truly be as Karajan described it, the new technology (LP) induced a state of intoxication. Why else would we have two Strauss polkas re-recorded by the London orchestra just five years later (1955/60); that's not even taking into account the Vienna recordings made in 1949.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John Fowler TOP 500 REVIEWER on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: Audio CD
8 CDs with the Philharmonia Orchestra (4 are stereo) + 4 CDs with the Berlin Philharmonic (3 are stereo).

Karajan re-recorded most of this repertoire, but these are his only recordings of Hindemith's "Mathis der Maler" Symphony, Mozart's German Dances, Leopold Mozart's "Toy Symphony", and Nicolai's Overture to "Die Lustigen Weiben von Windsor"

PART ONE: PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA

- Brahms: Symphonies 1 (1952 mono), 2, 4 (1955 stereo)
- Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1955 mono and stereo *)
- Liszt: Les Préludes, Hungarian Rhapsody 2 (1958 stereo)
- Mozart: Symphonies 35 (1952-55 two mono recordings **), 38 (1958 stereo), 39 (1955 mono and stereo *)
- Mozart: Divertimento k287 (1952 mono)
- Mozart: Serenade 13 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (1953 mono)
- L.Mozart: Cassation in G 'Toy Symphony' (1957 stereo)
- Schmidt: Notre Dame - Intermezzo (1959 stereo)
- Schubert: Symphony 8 (1955 stereo)
- J.Strauss (father): Radetzky March (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- J.Strauss: Waltzes - An der schönen blauen Donau, Kaiser-Walzer, Künstlerleben (1955 mono)
- J.Strauss: Polkas - Pizzicato (1955 mono), Tritsch-Tratsch, Unter Donner und Blitz (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- J.Strauss: Der Zigeunerbaron Overture (1955 mono)
- Josef Strauss: Delirien Waltz (1955 mono)
- R.Strauss: Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1951 mono), Tod und Verklärung (1953 mono)
- Suppe: Leichte Kavallerie Overture (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- Wagner: Tannhäuser - Venusberg Music (1954 mono, 1960 stereo)
- Weber: Invitation to the Dance orch.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Autonome on 8 Nov. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This 7th box set published by Warner Classics in their remastered Herbert von Karajan series is focused on German composers and gathers works recorded between 1951 and 1960. I genuinely believe it is one of the most authentically interesting in this series.

The first reason is that the remastering of Warner Classics is absolutely beautiful and reveals details that had been lost to me in previous editions: the Bruckner's 8th from 1957 for example, is a revelation here, while some unreleased stereo versions of previously published works in mono only are true gems: the stereo take of Mozart's 39th symphony beats the original and becomes a reference recording. The stereo Haydn Variations are also fantastic.

For the rest, this box set will enable the listener to analyze the change in Karajan's conducting style between 1951 and 1960. What is interesting here is that there are four CDs fully dedicated to the early studio recordings made by Karajan with the Berliner Phil, still very much Furtwängler's orchestra at the time - while the remaining eight CDs are focused on Karajan's work with the Philharmonia.

What can be said here: Karajan conducting the Philharmonia is more transparent, more rhythmically acute, more "sunny", less focused on pure beauty, but much more on movement and atmosphere. In this context, all the Mozarts are pretty great (we mentioned it earlier on in this review), and the Divertimento K287 is just superb. The Philharmonia also proves to be more Viennese than the purest Viennese in the many Strauss waltzes and polkas that can be found in this box set, recorded either in 1955 or 1960. They in my view beat hands down the indigestible Strauss program recorded by Karajan in stereo with the Wiener Philharmoniker and DECCA in 1959.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Karajan: German Classics with the Philharmonia + the First Berlin Philharmonic recordings 15 Aug. 2014
By John Fowler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
8 CDs with the Philharmonia Orchestra (4 are stereo) + 4 CDs with the Berlin Philharmonic (3 are stereo).

Karajan re-recorded most of this repertoire, but these are his only recordings of Hindemith's "Mathis der Maler" Symphony, Mozart's German Dances, Leopold Mozart's "Toy Symphony", and Nicolai's Overture to "Die Lustigen Weiben von Windsor"

PART ONE: PHILHARMONIA ORCHESTRA

- Brahms: Symphonies 1 (1952 mono), 2, 4 (1955 stereo)
- Brahms: Variations on a Theme by Haydn (1955 mono and stereo *)
- Liszt: Les Préludes, Hungarian Rhapsody 2 (1958 stereo)
- Mozart: Symphonies 35 (1952-55 two mono recordings **), 38 (1958 stereo), 39 (1955 mono and stereo *)
- Mozart: Divertimento k287 (1952 mono)
- Mozart: Serenade 13 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (1953 mono)
- L.Mozart: Cassation in G 'Toy Symphony' (1957 stereo)
- Schmidt: Notre Dame - Intermezzo (1959 stereo)
- Schubert: Symphony 8 (1955 stereo)
- J.Strauss (father): Radetzky March (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- J.Strauss: Waltzes - An der schönen blauen Donau, Kaiser-Walzer, Künstlerleben (1955 mono)
- J.Strauss: Polkas - Pizzicato (1955 mono), Tritsch-Tratsch, Unter Donner und Blitz (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- J.Strauss: Der Zigeunerbaron Overture (1955 mono)
- Josef Strauss: Delirien Waltz (1955 mono)
- R.Strauss: Don Juan, Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche (1951 mono), Tod und Verklärung (1953 mono)
- Suppe: Leichte Kavallerie Overture (1955 mono, 1960 stereo)
- Wagner: Tannhäuser - Venusberg Music (1954 mono, 1960 stereo)
- Weber: Invitation to the Dance orch. Berlioz (1958 stereo)

* Two 1955 recordings - Brahms' Haydn Variations and Mozart Symphony 39 - appear in alternate stereo and mono versions from the same session.
Different takes were used for Mozart 39: Only the mono version has an exposition repeat in the second movement.

** Mozart Symphony 35 appears in two different mono versions, recorded in multiple sessions between 1952 and 1955. Rather confusing.
Movements 1 and 2 are different takes, movements 3 and 4 appear to be identical.

Hard to believe, but for the first ten years after World War II, Herbert von Karajan was persona non grata in Berlin.
The post-war Berlin Philharmonic was dominated by Wilhelm Furtwangler and Sergiu Celibidache, both of whom despised Karajan.

Karajan spent ten years, 1946 to 1955, in Vienna and London, making LP records for EMI.
Walter Legge founded the Philharmonia Orchestra in London in 1945, planning to do without a principal conductor, but this proved impractical.
Herbert von Karajan took up the position (but not the title) from 1949 until 1955.

Wilhelm Furtwangler died in November, 1954.
Despite his prolonged absence from Berlin, Herbert von Karajan was elected Music Director of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1955,
a tribute to the critical (and financial) success of his Philharmonia Orchestra recordings, many of which are in this box.

Following this appointment, Karajan curtailed his activity in London, though he continued to make stereo recordings with the Philharmonia until 1960.
He started recording in Berlin in 1957.

By the time Karajan returned to London for some guest appearances, Otto Klemperer was Music Director of the Philharmonia Orchestra.
He was one of the few German conductors who could tolerate Karajan (and vice-versa).
They had a surprisingly cordial relationship, considering that the elderly Klemperer was not only a Jewish refugee, but also a bipolar manic-depressive (and he's my favorite conductor).

Karajan's self-professed conducting idol was Arturo Toscanini.
A highlight of Karajan's tenure was in September, 1952 when Toscanini guest-conducted the Philharmonia,
and had high praise for Karajan's orchestra.

The Philharmonia recordings are certainly more "Toscaninian" - leaner, less schmaltzy, and less opulent than his better-known Berlin Philharmonic re-recordings of the music.
Not necessarily better, but certainly different.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

PART TWO: BERLIN PHILHARMONIC

- Bruckner: Symphony 8 (1957 stereo)
- Hindemith: Symphony 'Mathis der Maler' (1957 stereo) *
- Mendelssohn: Hebrides Overture (1960 stereo)
- Mozart: Symphony 29 (1960 stereo)
- Mozart: Serenade 13 'Eine Kleine Nachtmusik' (1959 stereo)
- Mozart: German Dances k600,No.5, k602, k605,No.2 (1959-60 stereo) *
- Nicolai: Lustigen Weiben von Windsor Overture (1960 stereo) *
- Schubert: Symphony 5 (1958 stereo)
- Schumann: Symphony 4 (1957 mono)
- Wagner: Overtures - Meistersinger, Tannhauser (1957 mono), Fliegende Holländer, Lohengrin (1960 stereo)
- Wagner: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde (1957 mono)
- Weber: Freischütz Overture (1960 stereo)

The first EMI recording sessions with the Berlin Philharmonic got off to a rocky start.
Despite the late date - 1957, the Schumann 4th Symphony and three chunks of Wagner are actually mono recordings

Bruckner's 8th Symphony (Haas edition) was a poor choice for Karajan's first stereo session in May, 1957.
The recording venue, Berlin's Grunewaldkirche, has an extremely long verberation time,
which the EMI engineers had not yet mastered.
The string sound is quite beautiful, but heavily scored passages - there are many in this symphony, are congested and opaque, drowned in a bath of sound.
Reminds me of the Bruckner that Gunter Wand recorded in Lubeck Cathedral.

Wonderful performance nonetheless.
I wish EMI had waited a couple years - The 1960 engineering for Mendelssohn and Nicolai is gorgeous (of course, the music is more lightly scored).
Following these EMI sessions, Deutsche Grammophon had better luck across town at the Jesus-Christus Kirche (beginning in 1959).

Karajan made seven CDs worth of recordings for EMI between 1957 and 1960, before the switch to Deutsche Grammophon.
Rather than package them in a single volume,
which would have been justified because of their historical significance,
Warner decided to use them as fillers for Karajan's 1949-1960 Philharmonia Orchestra recordings.
The bulk of the early Berlin Philharmonic recordings are in the box under review - others are in:

Orchestral Spectaculars from Handel to Bartok 1949-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
- Bartok: Music for Strings Percussion and Celesta
- Dvorak: Symphony 9
- Handel: Water Music *
- Smetana: Moldau

Mussorgsky, Tchaikovsky, Borodin, Balakirev, Stravinsky 1949-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
- Tchaikovsky: Symphony 4

Concerto Recordings 1948-1958 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition)
- Brahms: 2nd Piano Concerto with Hans Richter-Haaser

* Karajan's only recording with Berlin Philharmonic

SOUND: Everything has been remastered since these recordings were last issued as part of an enormous 88 CD package in 2008.
I don't have those CDs at hand for comparison, but the new ones do sound better than EMI's first attempt dating back thirty years.
Pretty good in fact.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Another Excellent Karajan Remastering! 31 May 2014
By Arthur Wilson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
It is good to find the earlier Karajan EMI recordings available in smaller sets. The recordings have excellent sound considering their ages. The technological sound for the MONO Strauss Family Waltzes and Polkas is a little off base when compared with Bruno Walters 1956 New York Columbia recordings. Perhaps the engineers tried different microphone placements.
... the sets in the series - is blessed with great remasterings. The Strauss R and J both sound ... 27 Nov. 2014
By Tan Beng Ti - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This set - and it might not apply across all the sets in the series - is blessed with great remasterings. The Strauss R and J both sound opened up, detailed and balanced. The later recording of the Schimdt now sounds like a DG 60s studio recording with lovely presence and warmth. Yet it is clear this is youthful Karajan so the phrasing is much more alive and less mannered more spontaneous. Well worth a listen - if not a spot in your collection.
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