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Beethoven: The Symphonies Box set, Extra tracks, Hybrid SACD - DSD

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: SACD
Artist: KARAJAN,HERBERT VON
Title: SYMPHONIES
Street Release Date: 11/25/2003
Domestic
Genre: CLASSICAL ARTISTS

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto
  3. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 3. Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
  4. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 4. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
  5. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 1. Adagio - Allegro con brio
  6. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 2. Larghetto
  7. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 3. Scherzo. Allegro
  8. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 4. Allegro molto

Disc: 2

  1. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ('Eroica'), Op. 55: 1. Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ('Eroica'), Op. 55: 2. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai
  3. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ('Eroica'), Op. 55: 3. Scherzo. Allegro vivace
  4. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major ('Eroica'), Op. 55: 4. Finale. Allegro molto
  5. Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: 1. Adagio - Allegro vivace
  6. Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: 2. Adagio
  7. Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: 3. Allegro vivace
  8. Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60: 4. Allegro ma non troppo

Disc: 3

  1. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 1. Allegro con brio
  2. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 2. Andante con moto
  3. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 3. Allegro
  4. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 4. Allegro
  5. Symphony No. 6 in F major ('Pastoral'), Op. 68: 1. Angenehme, heiter Empfindungen, welche bei der Ankunft. Allegro ma non troppo
  6. Symphony No. 6 in F major ('Pastoral'), Op. 68: 2. Szene am Bach. Andante molto moto
  7. Symphony No. 6 in F major ('Pastoral'), Op. 68: 3. Lustiges Zusammensein der Landleute. Allegro
  8. Symphony No. 6 in F major ('Pastoral'), Op. 68: 4. Gewitter - Sturm. Allegro
  9. Symphony No. 6 in F major ('Pastoral'), Op. 68: 5. Hirtengesang. Wohltätige, mit Dank an die Gottheit verbundene Gefühle nach dem Stu

Disc: 4

  1. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
  2. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 2. Allegretto
  3. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 3. Presto
  4. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 4. Allegro con brio
  5. Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93: 1. Allegro vivace e con brio
  6. Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93: 2. Allegretto scherzando
  7. Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93: 3. Tempo di Menuetto
  8. Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93: 4. Allegro vivace

Disc: 5

  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 2. Molto vivace
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 3. Adagio molto e cantabile
  4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 4. Presto
  5. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 5. Presto - 'O Freunde, micht diese Töne!' - Allegro assai

Disc: 6

  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso (Rehearsal)
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 3. Adagio molto e cantabile (Rehearsal)
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 4. Presto (Rehearsal)


Product Details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (November 25, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set, Extra tracks, Hybrid SACD - DSD
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0000C03AH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #131,790 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
To my knowledge this is the third appearance of Karajan's 1963 Beethoven cycle available domestically on digital disc. You can still buy the previous boxed set issues DG429036 and DG453701. The latter is Volume 1 of DG's Complete Beethoven Edition issued in 1997. The recordings in that set are Original Image Bit Processed and represent a considerable improvement in sound quality over the previous one. There is also boxed edition with paper sleeves available as an import, which I assume contains the same 1997 remasters.

I approached the purchase of this Hybrid SACD set with some trepidation because I couldn't find a pertinent review and because I had tried DG's SACD remastering of Karajan's 1977 performance of the 9th (in my opinion, the greatest on disc), but the sound was terrible. (If you want Karajan's 1977 9th, get the recent 2-CD reissue containing symphonies 5, 6 and 9--they are all great performances and excellent remasterings.)

Anyway, I am relieved to report that these new transfers are a major improvement in sound over the previous issues. On the (stereo) SACD layers, the bass is full and balanced in relation to the other registers, and there is considerably more instrumental color and solidity of tone as well as spatial differentiation within the orchestral fabric. There is still noticeable hiss, but it is overshadowed by the enhanced vibrancy of the sound. In effect, these SACD remasterings bring the sound quality up to nearly modern recording standards.

The CD layers sound much like the SACD layers, but with slightly less spatial differentiation and solidity.
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Format: Audio CD
I've never fully heard these recordings in any previous incarnation, so can't comment on improvements in the CD layer (of the 3 CD issues, the middle one, in DG's Beethoven Edition is the only one with Original Image Bit-Processing).

I am not really a 'Kara-fan', certainly not in Beethoven although I do enjoy his digital Leonore III Overture - I feel Karajan is at his finest in Sibelius and Richard Strauss, particularly his 1960s DG recordings.

For this set I started with the Eroica and did compare the SACD (stereo only of course) with the first CD incarnation of the cycle (in the maroon box). The old CD sounded fine with a full rich bass, but there is a definite gain in clarity and detail with the SACD layer. Slightly less bass perhaps, but this sound is more vivid and realistic, and sounds phenomenal considering its 40+ year age.

As an interpretation this Eroica gains in distinction as it progresses: the lack of the exposition repeat in the first movement is a snag, but after an intense Funeral March the last two movement are very compelling with wonderful hunting horns in the Scherzo. In fact the playing throughout is pretty stellar. This one ranks alongside Kleiber, Scherchen, Klemperer and Rattle - as well as my own favourite, Abbado's VPO recording on DG.

I found the SACD of the first 2 symphonies to have very slightly inferior sound and the orchestral sound is slightly more robust in scale than we are used to on modern recordings (but never bloated or overblown), and Karajan's interpretation of the First Symphony is not as compelling as the others - the performance is fairly genial, and the finale is relaxed, without the crispness and hint of tension that, say, Wand or Rattle bring to it in their fine recordings.
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Format: Audio CD
DG has reissued their Karajan 1963 Beethoven cycle many times, and since it has been a front-runner for four decades, no doubt it will be updated any time a new technology appears. I have two versions, this new SACD hybrid, which I play through a regular two-channel system, and the "original image bit processing" that appeared in DG's complete Beethoven omnibus from the mid-Nineties, now available at mid-price. It was a decided improvement over the initial CD issue from the Eighties, still available as a budget box, which had nasty, edgy sonics.

The question is, how much improvement has SACD brought about? A lot if you have surround sound, of course. Through two-channel stereo I think there is noticeable improvment, too, in terms of a rounder, warmer orchestral tone--it's always good to eliminate as much digital glare as possible. I can't tell this new SACD hybrid from a modern recording, but the "original image" remastering was quite good in its own right. At Amazon the difference in price between the two boxes (new or used) is about 20%, so I would go with the SACD. Don't expect miracles, however; there is sitll a bit of glare in the upper ranges at loud volume, and the balance of the original tapes, which pushed brass and percussion to the rear, hasn't changed in two-channel.
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I'm reworking my original review for this outstanding cycle in light of it's reincarnation on SACD. It's an easy pick for the best intepretations of these symphonies available in the Super Audio format. The sound quality is not as high end as some of the finest digital cycles on SACD but the performances beat them all to hell. My original review was for the Original Image-Bit Processing that DG did back in 1997 for the Complete Beethoven Edition. That version of this awesome cycle has been long out of print and it's nice to have a sonic upgrade here.

The strings are sweeter, the brass more burnished. The bass is not as boomy as before. The sound has great impact and the stereo acoustics of the church where these recordings were made is still fantastic. The chorus in the 9th's finale sounds better but overall maintains the sonic problems of the time. The chorus is large and kind of back placed. It's definitely clearer than before but not the miracle one would hope for. Overall I would say very well done on the sound part. As for the performances, here are the contents of my original review. My thoughts on Karajan's famous early 60s Beethoven cycle...

This is Karajan at his absolute best, the orchestra and conductor seem to be a world removed from lesser conductors and ensembles. The Berlin Philharmonic has a real air of swaggering confidence in these recordings and Karajan seems to be on a mission to make a lasting impression, which he does! The exceptional rhythmic drive, the unbelievable intergrity of ensemble have to be heard to be believed.

The cycle I'm reviewing is like I said, the first of 3 DG cycles, the old mono EMI set is not competitive with the 3 DG cycles.
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