Believe the hype. This is a lovely record. 80 minutes of sheer joy (one new track - the Emperor Waltz - has been added to this reissue). The Vienna Philharmonic always used to have a reputation for the sweetest string sound in the world, and it is very clearly evident here. Karajan's 1980s recordings are a mixed bag; some have been rightly criticised as superficial, glossy, or lacking in tension. Others, including this one, are among the best he ever made; which means they are among the best ANY conductor has ever made. Some of the most famous Strauss family pieces are here - the aforementioned Emperor Waltz, the Blue Danube, Die Fleidermaus Overture and the Radetzky March. All are beautifully played. Karajan said that he had loved this music all his life, and that love shines through in every bar.
After Karajan's death in 1989 the inevitable reaction set in and his reputation took a nosedive (partly because so many of the recordings DG were promoting at the time were indifferent digital remakes of earlier triumphs). This record reminds you how great he was when on top form.