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Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky, Herbert von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (13) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (8) - Disc #5
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #6
  •  Track Listings (19) - Disc #7
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #8


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CD Reviews

Fair value, but Karajan can be heard better elsewhere
Alexander Leach | Shipley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom | 08/24/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)

"This is not a bad package for the price, but buyers should be aware that Karajan did some of these works better at other times. We can safely dispense with Karajan's last slackly-played VPO set, of course.For example note that these are the 1960s recordings of the last three symphonies (unlike the DG Double set which are the 1970s recordings). For the Pathetique this means you get by common consent the best of Karajan's many recordings of this works - fine playing, with spontaneity and freshness and excellent recording for 1964.However in the case of the Fifth, the later BPO DG recording, or even better the wonderfully spontaneous 1971 EMI Berlin recording are preferable (the latter quite superb in phenomenal sound, rivalling George Szell's 1959 version in sweep and power). This 1960s Fifth does sound rather studied in comparison.Other caveats should include a warning about the rather brightly lit CD of the three ballet suites, and Christian Ferras' terribly schmaltzy account of the violin concerto.All that said, this set does include Richter's aristocratic First Concerto with the Vienna SO, although why DG chose to include it rather than Lazar Berman's version is a mystery, as the latter is with the BPO to match the rest of the set and doesn't seem to be otherwise unavailable. It's also a finer account to many ears.Other worthwhile inclusions are Karajan's Winter Daydreams symphony (No 1), although enthusiasts for this work should also sample Michael Tilson Thomas' CD with the Boston SO, also on DG. Similarly Rostropovich's account of the Rococo Variations is a classic, and the Romeo and Juliet included here (never before on CD as far as I can tell) is very fine, with many imaginative touches. This Marche Slave is also one of the finest ever, full of power and brooding intensity.All in all a decent box, but true Karafans may need to pick up other CDs to complete the full Tchaikovskian picture."
Karajan (not) at his finest
Eugene Chen | Cornell University, Ithaca NY | 04/22/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"One of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, Karajan's recordings are some of the best pieces in the entire Deutsche Grammophon repertoire. This collection of Karajan Conducts Tchaikovsky is an excellent bargain - eight CDs for approximately $60 - and serves as an excellent sampling of Karajan's interpretation of Tchaikovsky's work. Unfortunately, this collection does not necessarily show Karajan at his finest.

While much of the collection is top-notch, some of the symphonies are a tad lack-luster in their execution. Indeed for Karajan fans, there are other recordings of Karajan conducting these symphonies, such as recordings of the 2nd and 5th, that you may want to try instead of the ones included in this set.

On the other hand, the ballet suites are well done, Rostropovich is excellent in the Cello Variations, and Ferras offers an interesting interpretation of the Violin Concerto. As a whole, this is a fairly solid collection that is certainly recommended for anyone whose collections have deficiencies in either Tchaikovsky or Karajan. If, however, you do already have some recordings of Karajan conducting Tchaikovsky, I would recommend skipping this set and buying individual albums where Karajan displays more of his trademark excellence.

My greatest criticism for this collection concerns its packaging. Though listed as a collectors edition, this box set is simply presented as a collection of eight discs in paper sleeves and a set of liner notes in English, German, and French inside a cardboard box."
A solid Tchaikovsky box set
King Lemuel | Puyallup, WA | 08/14/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Karajan is one of my favorite conductors who has recorded truck loads of great classical. With all the various releases and re releases of the same music recorded from the 50s to the 80s by Karajan, it can at times be very confusing. I really do like to know what I am buying. I have no need to buy the same music twice unless it has been substantially improved by being remastered.

This set is posted at Rhapsody and the track listing is posted at the Deutsche Grammophon website. At that website, each track may be clicked to open a track recording info window. The track times listed at Deutsche Grammophon are not exact matches as listed on their actual CDs. For example, I have Karajan's mid 70s Tchaikovsky Symphonies 4, 5, 6 2CD 2fer and the track times on the CD box do not exactly match the track times posted at Deutsche Grammophon. But they are within 4 to 6 seconds most of the time.

I was curious about when the symphonies and other orchestral works were recorded, especially the first three symphonies. The first three symphonies were recorded in December 77 and early 1979. These are apparently the same recordings as my triple LP box set copyrighted 1979. They are also for sale as a 2 CD 2fer. The dances from Eugene Onegin were recorded in 1971 and the remaining symphonies and orchestral works are from the 1960s, many from Oct 1966, according to Deutsche Grammophon's website.

From this set I like the symphonies best. The ballet suites are excellent as well, but they have been released elsewhere so beware of buying the same music twice. The orchestral works are a little above average to very good. For example, the recording of the Marche Slav is good, but a far superior over the top recording was done by Yuri Temirkanov with the Royal Philharmonic.

The concertos have been recorded by just about every major conductor and several times each by Karajan with different soloists. It would be interesting to know why these particular soloists were chosen.

The recorded sound varies but, for the most part, is pretty good. With a box set, I do not expect each track to be all time greats, instead I am hoping for above average to very good. That is the case here. This set would serve well as a primary or secondary Tchaikovsky set. I have listened thru a couple of times and enjoyed the music.