Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Erich Kunz, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Pietro Mascagni|
Karajan 100th - Volume 2, Opera and Vocals
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
John Austen | Baltimore, MD USA | 08/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fabulous bargain for people new to this material, but be warned: EMI has not reissued their latest remasterings in this set. You can find a complete track listing for this set on EMI's website, complete with remastering dates, many of which are from the late 1980's. EMI's reliance on these is a shame because quite a lot of these operas are classics and have been recently remastered in EMI's Great Recordings, Great Artists etc series. Here is an (important) example: Karajan's 1947 recording of Brahms's Requiem was remastered in 2004 for EMI's Great Artists series, but its website lists the version used in this set as the remastering of 1987. I cannot compare the two remasterings, but I do know that the 2004 remastering shows the age of the recording (as is to be expected), and my guess is that the sound on the 1987 remastering is significantly inferior. Why would EMI reissue its earlier remasterings, in preference to its latest ones? Your guess is as good as mine."
John Cullom | Washington, DC USA | 05/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a beginner trying to find out what there is to like about opera. So far, I'm liking Verdi and am trying to find some best recordings. Scouting around on Amazon, people tend to go nuts about the Callas and Karajan recordings, so I went to the record store to buy a couple and came across this box. All of the ones I was looking at were in here, so this box was a deal immediately. Not to mention, there are about 20 operas that I don't know but clearly should so this lays down a decent project for the next couple years.
I recently bought a Bach complete works box from here (also an incredible deal) that has a similar benefit. You can figure out what you like and then buy better recordings if you so desire. However, the Karajan box actually gives you great recordings. You may want different interpretations later on, hopefully so, but your point of comparison from this box is a definitive reference point. Bach - less than a buck a disc (so so recordings) Karajan - ~2 bucks a disc superior recordings. How's that for apples and oranges? Both are some of the best money you can spend.
As a comparison point, the Karajan Mass in B Minor compares favorably with the Gardiner, better soloists, and is quite a bonus. Not saying better, just another quality version with a different take. Since that's the single piece of music that may stand to redeem the disasters of humanity, it's probably best to have a couple versions on hand."
A big black box.
Angus W. Grant | Melbourne, Australia | 05/29/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This really is an extraordinary bargain. When you look at the merits of these recordings it is also an extraordinary achievement. The standard and inspiration maintained across 23 complete opera recordings is phenomenal. Many of these recordings are constantly referred to by experts, collectors and performers as contenders for best recordings, as classics or incredible artistic achievments (Rosenkavalier, Ariadne, Butterfly, Callas Trovatore, the first Meistersinger, Falstaff). Others may be slightly less worshipped but are considered excellent recordings ( the best, or close to by many including the Penguin guide)and are liked for their indiviual approach or interesting choice of singers (Aida, Don Carlo, Tristan, Figaro, Flute, Pelleas, Salome, Fledermaus, Hansel und Gretel etc).
There is only one real stinker ( the second Trovatore), and some of the choral recordings (however there are fascinating early Brahms and Bach recordings) and operas are not his best (only one or two though)but there are always fine moments, interesting approaches and amazing singers.
As for singers........it includes some of the finest; more of the most famous singers from the postwar 40 years that you can poke a stick at. I am looking foward to poking my stick at the recordings I do not know and finding more treasures, especially from the earlier recordings.
Karajan is criticised for being too controlling and for creating a sound that was too homogenous. One never gets a sense of this in his opera recordings where he chose a wide variety of singers and obviouslly revelled in the excitement they could bring to his music.
The presentation as mentioned in other reviews is not the best and the lack of information on the back of the sleeves is cheap...but then so is the box. Just buy it."
Priceless... at a very low price
Charles A. Miller | Baltimore, Maryland U.S.A. | 05/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Most people considering this set are probably already familiar with Karajan's work and probably already own quite a few of his EMI recordings. Therefore, there really is no need for me to get into depth with regards to the quality of the Karajan's work or the recordings. It is at a bare minimum, satisfactory; in most cases excellent.
The real issue here is is it worth spending the money for this set, especially if you already have many of these recordings in the standard jewel case editions? The answer is a resounding yes! Depending on the number of jewel cases you already own, think of the amount of shelf space you will save with this box set. It measures a mere 10 1/2 inches in length, while containing a whopping 72 discs (71 music discs and 1 disc wherein the lyrics are available as PDF files). Donate your old ones to a library, give them to friends, or sell them as "new and used" on Amazon.
There are a few problems with the packaging however. The first being, the discs are packaged in cardboard sleeves, which in turn are in a box, which in turn is slip-cased. You must be very careful when removing the slipcase because if the CDs are not facing up, they can and will fall out into a confusing mess.
The second problem is more problematic: The cardbord sleeves only list the "theme" of the disc or the title of the work. Even though this set is at a bargain price, one would think that EMI could have given a complete track listing on each sleeve. Yes, there is a booklet that does, but having to refer to it every time you put on a disc is not very convenient.
Finally, good luck with regards to finding the disc you want to play as they are not labeled on the spine of the covers.
In summary, albeit the couple of packaging issues, this set is very much worth the money (at the time of this writing, $2/disc). It is so very complete and saves so much shelf space. And again, obviously, the conductor's works during this time period are invaluable."
whitley 190 | tennessee | 04/22/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
Karajan recorded leider in the 1940's. His first opera recording was done in 1950, the last in 1984. There are 71 CDs in this set with one CD of librettos in PDF format. If you really like Karajan, grab this, and the companion orchestral volume, before they disappear."