Orchestral Spectaculars from Handel to Bartok 1949-1960 (Karajan Official Remastered Edition) Box set
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ORCHESTRAL SPECTACULARS FROM HANDEL TO BARTÓK – 1949-1960
These recordings were made between 1949 and 1960, primarily in London with the Philharmonia Orchestra, although a number of items feature the Berlin Philharmonic. They take a richly varied musical tour of Europe and feature music closely identified with Karajan – such as the symphonies and tone poems of Sibelius and Debussy’s La Mer – large-scale showpieces such as Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique and Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, and a treasure trove of more unexpected repertoire, such as works by Handel, Chabrier, Granados, Roussel, Respighi, Kodály, Vaughan Williams and Britten. A special bonus is the presence of the great Bulgarian bass Boris Christoff in arias by Verdi and Gounod.
The Karajan Official Remastered Edition comprises 13 box sets containing official remasterings of the finest recordings the Austrian conductor made for EMI between 1946 and 1984, and which are now a jewel of the Warner Classics catalogue.
For many, Herbert von Karajan (1908-1989) – hailed early in his career as ‘Das Wunder Karajan’ (The Karajan Miracle) and known in the early 1960s as ‘the music director of Europe’ – remains the ultimate embodiment of the maestro. The release of the Karajan Official Remastered Edition over the first half of 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the conductor’s death in July 1989 at the age of 81.
He was closely associated with EMI for the majority of his recording career (specifically from 1946 to 1960 and then again from 1969 to 1984). EMI’s legendary producer Walter Legge sought him out in Vienna just after World War II and the long relationship that ensued embraced recordings with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Philharmonia (the orchestra founded by Legge), the Berlin Philharmonic (of which Karajan became ‘conductor for life’ in 1955), the forces of La Scala, Milan, and the Orchestre de Paris.
The Karajan Official Remastered Edition will feature primarily symphonic and choral music. The entire edition will comprise recordings remastered from the original sources in 24-bit/96kHz at Abbey Road Studios, the world’s most renowned recording studio.
Top Customer Reviews
Some "sections" shall we say, are unqualified successes: All the Sibelius symphonies collected here are simply reference recordings and generated the admiration of the composer himself.
The beautiful tones of the Philharmonia are also marvelous in the Bartoks, and the sense of detail and transparency is incomparable, showing why the quality of this orchestra was so difficult to match at the time. Roussel's 4th symphony is also a reference recording, showing what Karajan's career could have been had he decided to continue exploring the contemporary repertoire.
Other sources of joy in this boxset are the Rossini overtures: completely idiomatic, fun, and compelling and a sublime, ample "La Mer".
I also found the very few recordings with the Berliner Philharmoniker extremely impressive: Dvorak's New World symphony is a stereo and atmospheric feast, Vlatva by Smetana is superb and the Water Music beats hands down the much more strained effort by the Philharmonia some years earlier.
And to be fair, after 1956 and when it is time for Karajan to re-record some of his early repertoire in stereo, his relationship with the Philharmonia has somewhat deteriorated, the conductor is now leading the Wiener Phil and the Berliner Phil on a full-time basis and the conductor's sound esthetics have changed.Read more ›
Berlioz Le carnaval romain Overture + Royal Hunt and Storm -- Britten Variations on a Theme of Frank Bridge -- Handel Water Music Suite -- Roussel Symphony 3 -- Vaughan Williams Fantasia on a Theme by Tallis
- plus lollipops by Chabrier (Marche joyeuse), Granados, Kodaly, Waldteufel and Weinberger.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are widely regarded as some of the most outstanding Karajan recordings of all time. The Sibelius recordings are landmarks in the catalogue. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Prof Richard S. Goldberg