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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thing of Beauty ...
Just a word about presentation - any ambitions to say something fresh and worthwhile about these celebrated recordings seem completely unnecessary! Karajan invites extreme reactions - often with far more heat than light - but only a listener whose mind is too prejudiced and biased to listen will fail to find almost incalculable riches. Others conductors will do things...
Published 13 months ago by R. C. Ross

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8 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Auto Rip-off
This was sold to me as having auto-rip. It looks like all the tracks are in the MP3 store but split into four volumes, and to date Amazon have provided only the third volume on my cloud player. I keep getting contradictory responses from "advisors" who know little and understand less. The current position seems to be that they are not going to provide the rest...
Published 13 months ago by Dr. Peter Sweeney


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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thing of Beauty ..., 23 July 2013
By 
R. C. Ross (Birmingham) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Karajan - 70s (DG box set) (Audio CD)
Just a word about presentation - any ambitions to say something fresh and worthwhile about these celebrated recordings seem completely unnecessary! Karajan invites extreme reactions - often with far more heat than light - but only a listener whose mind is too prejudiced and biased to listen will fail to find almost incalculable riches. Others conductors will do things differently, some may do things better, but none will attain such a consistent depth of beauty over so wide an horizon.

But about the presentation: DG in this set, like its predecessor of Karajan 1960s, have provided a most excellent package and a superb solution of how to present so many CDs in one set. The presentation is lavish but also practical and tasteful. It's a sheer joy to let one's fingers sift through the discs, in their 'original sleeves' and filed in their four neat little inner boxes, to see what comes out!

My main reservation before I purchased this set was that I thought there was a considerable number of CDs that I would not normally have bought and wasn't sure if I wanted them at all - the 'lesser' works. So far the greatest delight I have had from this set is playing those very discs - and discovering that while they may be 'lesser' in some respects they are presented by Karajan as fully worthy and given performances of consummate beauty. Sheer delight!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Karajan's golden years..., 31 July 2013
This review is from: Karajan - 70s (DG box set) (Audio CD)
This collection contains the complete recordings that Karajan did for DG (except operas) during the 70ies. Karajan was then at the peak of his career, and many of his most wellknown and famous recordings were made during this era.

First of all, there are the big symphony cycles - Schumann, Tschaikowsky, Bruckner, and Mendelssohn. These four are highly recommended, and are still considered to be among the best cycles. Then there is Beethoven and Brahms. Both these cycles may be overshadowed by recordings that Karajan made in the 60ies, and the competition is much stronger from other conductors when it comes to Beethoven and Brahms.

There are not many concerts in the set, but Ann-Sophie Mutters first recordings with Karajan are here, Mozart 3 and 5, and Beethoven. Very good indeed.

Karajan is not always thought of as a strong mahlerian, but the 9th symphony had good review in its time, and in this set there is also 4, 5 and 6. They are not bad at all. And then there are the Kindertotenlieder and Rückert-Lieder sung by Christa Ludwig - excellent recordings!

We are also given a number of baroque recordings that Karajan made with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker during the summer months. Bach, Vivaldi, Corelli and others. Although these recordings were made in another style that we are used to today, it can't be denied that they are high quality interpretations on their own right.

What is more difficult to get used to are Karajan's interpretations of choral works. There are several included here - Verdi's Requiem, Bach's St. Matthew Passion, Mozart's Coronation mass, to mention just a few. There are definitely fresher recordings (with better choral singing) to choose from.

There are a few surprises as well: Carl Orff's cantata De Temporum Fine Comoedia is one of them. Karajan made the only existing recording with forces from Cologne. This one a bit tougher than his "Carmina". And then there is one CD with European National Anthems, and two CDs with Prussian and Austrian Marches. I think that DG could had skipped these three CDs!

The presentation is very nice. The sleeves are with the original pictures and text, which is welcome and appeal to nostalgians. There is a thick book containing interesting essays and details about the recordings. You are not told anything about the masterings, however. DG wasn't known for the best masterings in the early days of the CD. The sound could be congested and cluttered, especially in heavyloaded orchestral music. However, DG did in fact do some new remasterings for the series "Karajan Gold". Thirty releases from the early digital era were remastered for this series using DG's special Original-Image Bit-Processing technology (OIBP). They were issued between 1993-1995. It has been a matter of debate whether these releases were an improvement over the original ones. Having bought one or two of them, at that time, I found the OIBP releases better.

To conclude then - this set is not cheap, but it contains a lot, including some excellent recordings. Questions remain regarding remasterings and sound quality.

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August 24, 2013. Additional comments on the sound and the remasterings. It is clear from the record labels that ALL discs in this box have gone through DG's OIBP remastering. Having now had some time to make comparisons, I picked a previous release of Schumann's 3rd symphony Schumann:DG 429 672-2 and compared this with the present release. The timings are not the same, which supports that some change has taken place. Unfortunately, I must say that there is little improvement (if any) of sound quality in the new release. The string sound is egdy and harsh in both releases. Sadly, I have sold my LP, so I havn't been able to make comparisons with the LP from the 70s. I believe though that some explanation may lie in the fact that the original recordings of DG were thought inferior to Decca and other companies in those years (and even later). No remastering in the world can make up the mistakes that took place during the recoding session.

November 17, 2013. After having listened to more of these recordings, I must confirm that the sound is a disappointment. I doubt that "Original-Image Bit-Processing" means more than that the original remastering was refurbished in some way or another, not that a new remastering was made. It is may also be that the original recordings were of such poor quality that it was not possible to accomplish more. Because of the sound, I have lowered my rating from five stars to four.
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5.0 out of 5 stars 1980'S BOX SET RELEASE!!!, 12 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Karajan - 70s (DG box set) (Audio CD)
Just to let everyone know that the forthcoming 1980's box set will be released on October 13th this year, a 78 cd box. It's catalogue number is 4793448. Can't wait!!! full details on
http://www.deutschegrammophon.com/kr/cat/4793448
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11 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yet more treasures from the archive of DG..., 22 July 2013
By 
Mr. Robert D. Roy (Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Karajan - 70s (DG box set) (Audio CD)
This is a wonderful follow up to DG's Karajan 60s box set and for those who embarked upon this journey there can be no doubt that this is a trip worth taking! As I wrote in my review of that set, there were many of the original Lps that were well out of reach of my teenage pocket. However, as the 80s progressed and I started my first job I found that I could afford to buy a few ( but not all!) of these records.

All seemed well UNTIL 1983 and the arrival of the compact disc. As Herr von Karajan said at the time "All else is gaslight..." We'll, ok, but it was a confusing time for some of us. Did we invest in an extremely expensive CD player to buy the very expensive discs or did we continue with our Lps? For those of us who carried on with Lps there was a feeling that we were being left behind. There was very little back catalogue being issued and did we really want to replicate our 5.50 Lps with 12 compact discs?

This is all a pre-amble to saying that his set is, in real terms, a bargain. For me, to have the 1977/78 set of the Beethoven symphonies with their original artwork proves the saying 'all good things come to those who wait' to be true!
Once again, this set brings back memories and feelings that are simply not just music related. Obviously, the set had not long arrived so I've not heard anything more than a sample but the nostalgia is there in spades. What I HAVE done is to compare my original Lp of the 'Pastoral' symphony with its new cd grandson and there is NO comparison. The bass is very firm and the slightly glassy sound of the violins has been tamed. And you can hear the wind players!

What else can I add? Well, almost all of these recordings have been available in the last 30 years in one incantation or another but for those of us who were there, this is a wonderful set.

Have fun!
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8 of 26 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Auto Rip-off, 25 July 2013
By 
Dr. Peter Sweeney (Guildford, UK.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Karajan - 70s (DG box set) (Audio CD)
This was sold to me as having auto-rip. It looks like all the tracks are in the MP3 store but split into four volumes, and to date Amazon have provided only the third volume on my cloud player. I keep getting contradictory responses from "advisors" who know little and understand less. The current position seems to be that they are not going to provide the rest. Legal action is pending. If you don't want hassle, don't buy from Amazon, and don't rely on their promises.

The actual CD set is well worth buying, as long as you're not allergic to Karajan (any many are, of course). I'm not, although I'm equally not a Karajan worshipper. This set does contain many of his best recordings and is excellent value assuming you don't have too many of them already. There are reviews on the amazon.com website giving information about remastering that is not mentioned in the booklet for this European release. Briefly, many of the recordings had been OIBP remastered and many (but not all) of the rest have been remastered for this release. I have listened to the remastered Beethoven Pastoral and it certainly doesn't sound like the previous CD release. I remember the LPs as sounding rather manipulated and those effects, approved by HvK, are back. The previous CD sounded smoother but introduced a bland effect that is now thankfully absent.

As with the 1960s set, presentation is excellent. There have been a few tweaks since that set. The CD number is now printed at the top of the rear of the cardboard sleeves rather than obscuring part of the text as they did before. They have been less rigid in laying out the discs as they were on LP, which brings both losses and gains. For example, I am pleased to say that Beethoven's ninth has not been split across two discs. On the other hand, some of the LP contents have been squeezed two to a CD, which means you lose out on the sleeve notes of one, even though the LP front cover is shown in the booklets. Pieces to suffer this way include Beethoven's fifth (here coupled with the fourth) and seventh (here coupled with the Pastoral). And wouldn't it have been nice if they had made the cardboard sleeves slightly larger to accommodate paper liners on each CD to enhance the mini-LP effect?

Still, I shouldn't really gripe. Overall, four stars for this release but no stars for Amazon.
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