Karajan's '63 Beethoven Cycle coming to SACD this fall

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Seth_S, Feb 26, 2003.

  1. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    Though I can't stand Karajan's Beethoven, I'm sure it will interest some to know that his 1963 DG Beethoven Cycle will be released as a SACD hybrid set this fall. Expect special packaging since this will be the 40th anniversary of the cycle. It is unclear if DG will be going back to the original analog tapes to remaster them in DSD instead using of using the PCM tapes that were made for the CD releases like they've done with other SACD releases. I should know about this in a few days.

    Universal Music's SACD releases remain fair at best. Besides the few number of releases, they value audio quality over performance, and thus their huge back catalogue has remained untapped.
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Herbey and the Berlin Boys must have recorded the Beethoven cycle 4 or 5 times by now. I always was a fan of the earlier recordings, and had the 1963 cycle on LP when I was in college. I think I like them better than you do. This may be the event that makes me break down and buy a SACD player.......
     
  3. Tomoko Noguchi

    Tomoko Noguchi Second Unit

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    I've heard though that it might not be remastered in DSD, but be the digital PCM copy of the original analog recording. That wouldn't be good.
     
  4. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    I have all this on vinyl. On DGG.
     
  5. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    All? He made something like 500-600 recordings for DG [​IMG]
     
  6. Jack Briggs

    Jack Briggs Executive Producer

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    Erm, the 1963 Beethoven cycle, sir. The Beethoven.
     
  7. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    Jack,

    I thought you were referring to all of his recordings in general.
     
  8. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Seth, what don't you like about Karajan's Beethoven? I haven't heard it in so long I can't even remember what it sounded like, but I'm curious.
     
  9. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    Mike Broadman,

    I find Karajan to be uninvolved and texture obsessed (like most of his recordings). He's concern for the rich opulent sound that the BPO produces comes at the expense of the music-- specifically his thick textures covering up far too much. The whole cycle strikes me as an exercise in polished playing. Hopefully Sony will counter this release by issuing Szell's Cycle on SACD.
     
  10. Mike Broadman

    Mike Broadman Producer

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    Because of Sony's SACD product line, I've been discovering Szell myself, and I find his interpretations honest to the spirit of the recordings and free of pretention. The only Beethoven recording by Szell I have is of the 3rd symphony, and I enjoy it very much.

    While I can't speak of Karajan's work in particular at the moment, I do find myself enjoying texturally rich recordings. But I've also been burned by those that sounded to "sweet" to me.

    Thanks for your assessment. Depending on my financial means at the time, I may or may not pick this up.
     
  11. Seth_S

    Seth_S Second Unit

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    There is something to be said about Karajan's texture obsessed approach-it works quite well for late romantics like Strauss and especially Bruckner. With the music of classical and early romantic composers though, it fails to bring out their intentions.

    Szell was one of the true geniuses of the orchestra. I'd go as far to say that he was one of the top 3 conductors of the 20th century. It's vital that Sony continue to release more Szell on SACD because both poorly pressed LPs and remastered CD releases have always undercut his music making. Sony though seems to have halted releasing Classical SACDs; 3 new ones have just been released, but they are the first in a while.

    It will be interesting to see what DG prices the Karajan Cycle at.
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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