March 31, 2014

Karajan series of 13 box sets marks 25th anniversary of the maestro’s death

One hundred discs, painstakingly remastered at the famous Abbey Road Studios, reveal the conductor’s genius as never heard before.

Many of the great musicians who worked with maestro Herbert von Karajan recall that he boiled his phenomenal gifts down to a simple, oft-stated maxim: “Those who have achieved all their aims probably set them too low.”

It is in keeping with these exacting standards that four expert sound engineers from London’s Abbey Road Studios took on the monumental task of remastering his complete orchestral and choral works originally recorded for EMI, now available in high resolution sound for the first time from Warner Classics.

The result is the milestone Karajan Official Remastered Edition of 13 box sets — no fewer than 100 discs spanning four decades from 1946 to 1984 — that faithfully chart the making of a legend.

The first three boxes now available capture Karajan at his thrilling artistic prime, from when renowned producer Walter Legge first approached the conductor in the aftermath of the Second World War. Theirs was a long and fruitful musical partnership that yielded the majority of the historic recordings in this series, beginning with the 10CD Vienna Philharmonic set from 1946–1949 and the Austro-German repertoire in which Karajan was undisputed master.

The next volume comprises the first (and arguably the finest) of Karajan’s four complete Beethoven cycles, undertaken in the 1950s with Legge’s newly founded Philharmonia Orchestra. The collection presents the conductor's revered Ninth with soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf not only in its Karajan-approved monoaural version, but also in its remarkable first-ever stereo incarnation, thanks to never before released original tapes.

The 8CD box of Karajan and His Soloists showcases the maestro’s collaborative spirit and the new heights he inspired in Walter Gieseking, Dinu Lipatti, Dennis Brain (Mozart Horn Concertos), and other illustrious musicians of the era. Concertos by Mozart, Beethoven, Schumann and Brahms sit alongside the elegant Médition from Massenet’s Thaïs and a rare foray into the Second Viennese School with concertos by Kurt Leimer.

Karajan’s authoritative interpretations remain fresh and vibrant today. Rediscover these celebrated recordings fully remastered in 24-bit/96kHz from the original tapes, in more clarity and detail than ever before.

The first three box sets of the Karajan Official Remastered Edition are now available.