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Strauss / Karajan [11 CDs & 1 Blu-ray Audio]


Release Date: 08/19/2014 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 002100500  
Composer:  Richard Strauss
Performer:  Michel SchwalbéGiusto CapponePierre FournierNorbert Hauptmann,   ... 
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic OrchestraVienna Philharmonic OrchestraRoyal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 12 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This richly packaged, splendidly annotated (with complete texts and translations) limited edition contains the following:

1. All of Karajan’s non-digital stereo Berlin Strauss recordings for DG: Till, Don, Death, Zarathustra, Don Quixote, Ein Heldenleben, Metamorphosen, Salome’s Dance, the classic Four Last Songs with Gundula Janowitz, and two concertos (Oboe and Horn No. 2).

2. The digital Berlin Alpine Symphony–Karajan’s only recording of the work.

3. The Vienna Philharmonic Strauss recordings for Decca: Zarathustra, Till, Don, and Salome’s Dance.

4. Rather quick and circumstantially creepy 1943 versions of Salome’s Dance and Don Juan in lousy sound featuring Karajan as the Nazi
Read more force occupying the conductor’s podium of the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.

5. A live 1961 Rosenkavalier from the Salzburg Festival in acceptable mono sound, excitingly conducted, sometimes roughly played by the Vienna Philharmonic, and splendidly sung by a classic cast of Straussian pros: Lisa Della Casa as the Marschallin, Sena Jurinac as Octavian, Hilde Güden as Sophie, and Otto Edelmann as Baron Ochs.

6. A Blu-ray disc containing all of the stereo Berlin stuff on the first six discs (that is, all the orchestral music and songs, minus the Alpine Symphony).

Karajan’s digital Strauss recordings already have been released in a separate box, while the EMI performances, obviously, are on EMI (or now Warner). Make no mistake, Karajan was one of the great Strauss conductors. Several of these interpretations are classics: Don Quixote with Pierre Fournier, the Four Last Songs, Death and Transfiguration (although the digital remake is even finer), and above all, Also sprach Zarathustra. No one played that opening better than Karajan did, although the DG outstrips the Decca for sheer orchestral virtuosity and timbral glamor.

The only tone poem Karajan never really “got”, in my opinion, was the one he recorded first for DG: Ein Heldenleben, a work rich in an ironic humor utterly foreign to Karajan’s character. His interpretation is slowish, heavy, and oh so serious. Also, while it’s nice to have the 1961 Rosenkavalier, Karajan did make two excellent studio recordings of the work, and all of the singers in the major roles can be found elsewhere. Still, fans of the Marschallin will value this performance especially for Lisa Della Casa’s contribution, and for the extra jolt of energy occasioned by the circumstances of hearing the work live.

I can’t imagine any Straussian not already owning some or all of these recordings, but if you don’t, this set is completely self-recommending. BTW, the Blu-ray disc didn’t interest me, and for those who care about such things it would make more sense for DG to issue it separately since, if you prefer the performances in that format, why would you want them in another?

-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Michel Schwalbé (Violin)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1898; Germany 
Length: 45 Minutes 0 Secs. 
2.
Don Quixote, Op. 35 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Giusto Cappone (Viola), Pierre Fournier (Cello)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896-1897; Germany 
3.
Concerto for Horn no 2 in E flat major, AV 132 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Norbert Hauptmann (French Horn)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1942; Germany 
4.
Four Last Songs, AV 150 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Gundula Janowitz (Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1948; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1974 
Length: 22 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: German 
5.
Metamorphosen for 23 solo Strings, AV 142 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1945; Germany 
Date of Recording: 8/1969 
Length: 27 Minutes 35 Secs. 
6.
Concerto for Oboe in D major, AV 144 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Lothar Koch (Oboe)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1945-1948; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1974 
Length: 24 Minutes 56 Secs. 
7.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Michel Schwalbé (Violin)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, West Berlin 
Length: 35 Minutes 5 Secs. 
8.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, West Berlin 
Length: 15 Minutes 30 Secs. 
9.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/1973 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, West Berlin 
Length: 18 Minutes 3 Secs. 
10.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1/1973 
Venue:  Jesus Christus Kirche, West Berlin 
Length: 10 Minutes 9 Secs. 
11.
Tod und Verklärung, Op. 24 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Length: 25 Minutes 24 Secs. 
12.
Eine Alpensinfonie, Op. 64 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  David Bell (Organ)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1911-1915; Germany 
Date of Recording: 12/1980 
Venue:  Philharmonie, Berlin 
Length: 51 Minutes 2 Secs. 
13.
Der Rosenkavalier, Op. 59 by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Josef Knapp (Bass), Fritz Sperlbauer (Tenor), Hilde Gueden (Soprano),
Evelyn LaBruce (Mezzo Soprano), Liselotte Maikl (Soprano), Otto Edelmann (Bass),
Sena Jurinac (Soprano), Erich Majkut (Tenor), Siegfried Rudolf Frese (Bass),
Giuseppe Zampieri (Tenor), Renato Ercolani (Tenor), Erich Kunz (Baritone),
Lisa Della Casa (Soprano), Judith Hellwig (Soprano), Alois Pernerstorfer (Bass),
Hilde Rössl-Majdan (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; Germany 
14.
Also sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895-1896; Germany 
Date of Recording: 3/1959 
15.
Till Eulenspiegels lustige Streiche, Op. 28 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894-1895; Germany 
16.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
17.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
18.
Don Juan, Op. 20 by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888-1889; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1943 
19.
Salome, Op. 54: Dance of the seven veils by Richard Strauss
Conductor:  Herbert von Karajan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903-1905; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1943 

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