"Karajan's direction is exactly as in the studio: majestic, broadly paced without being inert, vast in dynamic range, always considerate to his soloists, unerring in its preparation and clinching of climaxes." ~BBC Music Magazine
Admirers of Karajan will probably own most or all of these symphony cycles from what was probably the pinnacle of the conductor's prolific career. However, if you are unfamiliar with Karajan's work, or well enough acquainted with it to desire further exploration, then this amazingly inexpensive anthology can be enthusiastically recommended. I purchased all of these sets when they came out in DG's previous mid-priced "Karajan Symphony Edition," and I can testify to their consistently oustanding quality, both as performances and as interpretations. As recordings, however, it must be admitted that the sound is of variable quality; sometimes admirably vivid and well balanced, but frequently tending toward harshness, even garishness–particularly in those which come from the early digital era (cf. Bruckner's symphonies 1-3). Too bad Universal didn't see fit to give this magnificent legacy a sonic facelift. Still, the performances are sufficiently worthy of your attention to warrant purchase regardless of these sonic limitations.
Herbert von Karajan recorded almost everything in the standard orchestral repertoire once, many works two or three times, between his 1950s recordings for EMI with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the early 1960s for Decca with the Vienna Philharmonic, and his 1960s - 1989 recordings, mostly with the Berlin Philharmonic, for Deutsche Grammophon.
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, which are now a jewel of the Warner Classics catalog. This 5-CD box includes Haydn's Die Jahreszeiten, Beethoven's Missa Solemnis and Brahms's German Requiem performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, with renowned vocal soloists such as Walter Berry and José van Dam.
"Between 1980 and his death in 1989, Herbert von Karajan recorded the incredible amount of 78 CDs worth of orchestral and choral music for DGG. In the final decade of his creative life, he made quintessential recordings of major works he had not recorded before: Nielsen’s Symphony No. 4 “The Inextinguishable” and Saint-Saëns’ “Organ” Symphony. Among the highpoints of Karajan’s late years is the major part of his collaboration with Anne-Sophie Mutter, the “wunderkind” Karajan discovered in the late 1970s and mentored throughout the 1980s.
The equally majestic follow-up to one of the most successful box sets in recent memory: After KARAJAN 1960s here comes KARAJAN 1970s. Between 1970 and 1979, Herbert von Karajan recorded the incredible amount of 82 CDs worth of orchestral and choral music for DG This was the period that saw Karajan delve deeply into important repertoire that he never really tackled before or after – from Vivaldi to Mahler, to Berg, Schoenberg and Webern as well as Orff. Not to forget Christmas Concertos, National Anthems, and Prussian Marches.
A superb box-set. Karajan set the bar high, paid great care and attention in monitoring the recording process and correcting any "mistakes" that recording engineers or producers might make. Of course, producers and recording engineers would correct Karajan's "corrections"! The recording studio - in which he thrived - and the end product were just as important to Herbert von Karajan as his live concert performances.
With this original jackets’ box set Deutsche Grammophon concludes its series of 4 grand sets that present almost the totality of Herbert von Karajan’s output for the Yellow Label – and hence perhaps the most magnificent legacy in the history of recorded music. On 70 CDs “KARAJAN – THE OPERA RECORDINGS” features the 14 operas Karajan recorded for DGG – from “Carmen” to “Parsifal”, from “The Merry Widow” to “Rosenkavalier”, from Mozart to Puccini. And, of course, the complete “Ring”.
The compact disc, as a sound carrier, was still on the horizon when Herbert von Karajan urged his record company to utilize the new digital technology in his recordings. Consequently Karajan's Magic Flute, recorded in 1980, became the first release of a Deutsche Grammophon digital production and was first released on LP.