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Herbert von Karajan Edition: Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Strauss
Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Herbert von Karajan Edition: Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Strauss
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (10) - Disc #3


      

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CD Reviews

Great Early Karajan
James Burr | Larchmont, NY | 04/27/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a terrific set that should be reissued. Karajan's work with the Philharmonia in the 1950s is often better than the overly smooth and slushy work he did with the Berlin. Here is a prime example, with excellent Brahms, good Mozart (Karjan reportedly loved Mozart but it wasn't really his strength), and terrific Strauss. This is becoming very hard to find, so if you see it, grab it. It has good EMI-Walter Legge, Douglas Larter sound of the 1950s, which would be improved with a remastering (EMI where are you?)or a Testament/Paul Baily reissue."
Hard-to-find Philharmonia recordings 1952-55
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 10/20/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Many critics who dislike Karajan automatically repeat the claim that his early years in London with the Philharmonia are categoricaly better than his later ones with the Berlin Phil. Like most categorical statements, this one isn't true, but at least EMI has given us much ground for debate. Here are 3 CDs of recordings made between 1952 and 1955, most of them hard to find otherwise (I assume, however, that EMI's huge box of complete Karajan recordings includes them). All are in good mono, if not in the best transfers. As the previous reviewer says, remastering would help with a certain hard thinnness, particularly at loud volume and in the top registers. Thre's also a hint of microphone shatter in loud tuttis.

The repertoire in this box set was central to Karajan's career, and where he was always strong (( Beethoven, Brahms, the Strauss family -- he is strong here. The readings in general are more muscular and less refined than they would become -- the forthright Brahms First and Haydn Variations are prime examples in this regard. Karajan's Mozart came off in later years as sleek and overly controlled, so it's good that these early readings don't feel that way. Still, they aren't as high-spirited as Beecham's or as deeply felt as Furtwangler's. EMI has rereleased the Strauss items a few times in higgledy-piggledy fashion, never with any better sound than we get here. The timing for the three CDs is generous at 77 min., 78 min., and 62 min.

If you are at all interested in hearing Karajan at his best, it's a good idea to snap up the remaining copies of this out-of-print set while they last."