17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 25 March 2011
This was an impulse purchase a couple of days ago. The recording has never had a great reputation but I was curious, and encouraged by the fact that it was so cheap. In fact I cannot think of greater operatic recording, and why should one be surprised - Karajan remained on top of the game till the end and Richard Strauss was his home territory. To my mind this is infinitely preferable to his much more famous 1950s recording with the Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The casting is perfect, Tomowa-Sintow sincere in every fibre,Janet Perry not famous but immaculate as Sophie: everyone sings and plays there hearts out, and the sound is superb digital.
There is a mystery. Everyone who took part sounds fired by a great occasion. So why was it forgotten about, and now put out as a super bargain. Well, I guess it doesn't matter anymore, but don't miss it!
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 28 March 2012
Personally I have something of a (four star)soft spot for this recording, but for a general review a warning three stars seems appropriate. This really is the most sensuous, gorgeous account of Der Rosenkavalier committed to disc. Listening to it directly after Sinopoli's DG "Elektra" (same orchestra, same hall) made me realise how much more presence the Vienna Phil have under Sinopoli. Karajan and his trusty engineer, Gunther Herrmanns, have presented us with a much more "soft focus" sound for the orchestra, more distanced.
Consequently the big highlights, (the Presentation of the Rose, the Final trio etc.) have the effect of a luxurious bath with scented oils... you'll find yourself purring with pleasure.
But, and it's a big "but", "Rosenkavalier" is a comedy and Karajan seems unwilling to accommodate the necessary high spirits of much of Acts 2 and 3. It's like wading through treacle. Even Bernstein (Sony) with the same orchestra and the same inclination to wallow still picks up the pace in the bits where we're supposed to laugh.
Solti (Decca) goes too far in the other direction for me, crackling with nervous energy at the expense of romance.
Apart from its sheer beauty, the other reason the buy this set is Kurt Moll's Baron Ochs. The ladies here are all excellent, if not especially individual in the manner of Crespin, Ludwig, Popp, Fassbaender, Jurinac, and of course Schwarzkopf to name just a few.
There's always Karajan's earlier Philharmonia set, much livelier if you can stomach Schwarzkopf's micromanagement of the words and Stich-Randall's dog-whistle Sophie... Haitink's EMI set is just DULL.
But when there are two DVDs available conducted by Carlos Kleiber, both with superb casts, it seems daft to look elsewhere. Like his father Erich before him in the great old Decca (mono) set, Carlos Kleiber is the consummate "Rosenkavalier" conductor, and if I slightly prefer the Munich version (Jones, Popp, Fassbaender), both are excellent.
Maybe a highlights disc would have been the best way to listen to this Karajan/DG recording, but, hey, it costs less than a tenner, and if you have other "Rosenkavaliers", run yourself a nice warm bath and enjoy it!