Karajan: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca (330CD/24DVD/2 Blu-ray Audio)

Deutsche Grammophon
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Herbert von Karajan

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Herbert von Karajan (1908-89) defined the art of conducting for millions over the course of his long career. Since his death, the charismatic Austrian artist has continued to inspire countless music-lovers worldwide through his monumental legacy of recordings, whose depth and richness are now celebrated in the largest box set ever issued: Karajan: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. This lavishly produced project, set for international release on 3 November 2017 as a strictly-limited, numbered edition of 2,500, presents Karajan’s entire catalogue of recordings for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. It comprises 330 CDs, 24 DVDs and two Blu-ray Audio discs – a total of 356 discs sleeved with their original jacket artwork and shelved together with four tracklist booklets and a 140-page hardcover book. The discs are presented in a bookshelf-like inner box, from which all sleeves are easily accessible, and which itself is housed in a leather-fibre outer box.

Karajan’s iconic artistry arose from the awe-inspiring power of his podium presence, the poetic fluidity of his gestures and the passionate intensity of his music-making. His pursuit of perfection in performance – reinforced by meticulous preparation in rehearsal – and his cultivation of an ideally-blended orchestral sound were aided by advances in recording technology, from the introduction of the LP and stereo sound to the arrival of digital recording. In 1980 he conducted the Berliner Philharmoniker in DG’s first digital recording, a critically acclaimed account of Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte; they continued to set trends two years later when they recorded Strauss’s Eine Alpensinfonie for the yellow label’s first mass-produced CD.

Deutsche Grammophon released Karajan’s debut recording, the overture to Die Zauberflöte with the Berlin Staatskapelle, in 1939. He made his final album for the yellow label, a visionary account of Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, fifty years later. Karajan became Principal Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in 1955 and held the position for the rest of his life. Their partnership, fully documented by Deutsche Grammophon, delivered recordings of everything from Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos and St Matthew Passion to Schoenberg’s Variations for Orchestra Op.31 and Webern’s Six Movements for Orchestra Op.6. Karajan’s Deutsche Grammophon albums sold over 200 million copies in all formats during his lifetime; he has remained the label’s best-selling artist in each of the years since his death.

Karajan: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca charts the development of a legend. The recordings have been subdivided to cover landmark decades during the conductor’s career, starting with six CDs devoted to “The First Recordings” from the 1930s and 40s and two further discs of radio recordings from the 1940s. The complete recordings from the 1960s (82 CDs), 1970s (82 CDs) and 1980s (78 CDs) are complemented by the complete opera recordings on DG and Decca (70 CDs), the Decca orchestral recordings (nine CDs) and The Christmas Album, recorded with Leontyne Price. The set also includes Karajan’s entire catalogue for DG/Unitel (24 DVDs), including documentaries, live concerts and complete operas – giving visual as well as audio evidence of his masterful touch as a stage conductor. Finally, his 1963 cycle of Beethoven’s nine symphonies and Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen are presented on two 24 bit/96kHz Blu-ray audio discs. The conductor’s biographer Richard Osborne considers the Karajan phenomenon in an extended essay, bound together in book form with a collection of essays, interviews and reminiscences from colleagues and producers.

Among its many repertoire highlights, Karajan: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca contains complete cycles of the symphonies of Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mendelssohn, Schumann and Tchaikovsky, together with Anne-Sophie Mutter’s celebrated recordings of the Brahms, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky violin concertos. The set also encompasses the conductor’s majestic interpretations of Mahler’s Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Ninth Symphonies and Das Lied von der Erde, his profound readings of the Brahms, Mozart and Verdi Requiems and Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, and compelling performances of 20th-century masterworks by Bartók, Berg, Honegger, Prokofiev, Schoenberg, Shostakovich, Richard Strauss, Stravinsky and Webern. In addition to Karajan’s fourteen complete opera recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, the set contains his eight complete operas for Decca, including Puccini’s La bohème with Mirella Freni, Luciano Pavarotti and Nicolai Ghiaurov, considered by many to be among the greatest of all opera recordings.

Karajan: Complete Recordings on Deutsche Grammophon and Decca offers an unrivalled opportunity to experience the breathtaking scope and excellence of the conductor’s art in benchmark recordings by which all others must be judged.


• The Early Recordings on 8 CDs (6 CDs of “The First Recordings” from the 1930s and 1940s + 2 CDs radio recordings previously released on Koch-Schwann from the 1940s)

• The Complete 1960s recordings (82CDs)

• The Complete 1970s recordings (82 CDs)

• The Complete 1980s recordings (78 CDs)

• The Complete Opera Recordings on DG & Decca (70 CDs)

• Decca Orchestral Recordings on 9 CDs + The Christmas Album

• The complete DG/Unitel DVDs (24 DVDs)

• 2 Blu-ray Audios with the 1963 Beethoven cycle and Wagner’s Ring des Nibelungen in 24 bit/96kHz.

• Strictly Limited, Numbered Edition of 2,500

• Leather fibre outer case with gold hot-foil imprint

• Bookshelf-like inner box presenting all sleeves easily accessible from two sides

• The Hardcover-Book with 140 pages: Includes a new extended essay on the phenomenon Karajan by biographer Richard Osborne as well as all the essays, interviews, reminiscences by colleagues and producers from the four previously released big box sets, a timeline and numerous pictures including facsimiles of protocols from some of his most famous recordings

• Four tracklisting booklets:

  1. The Early Recordings + 1960s Recordings
  2. The 1970s Recordings
  3. The 1980s Recordings + Decca Orchestral Recordings
  4. The Opera Recordings + DVDs and Blu-ray Audios

• Original Jackets (front and back) with most recordings in their original LP couplings

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