Skip to content
Home » Classical Downloads » Karajan: Beethoven – The Symphonies (6 CD box set, FLAC)

Karajan: Beethoven – The Symphonies (6 CD box set, FLAC)

Karajan: Beethoven - The Symphonies (6 CD, FLAC)
Karajan: Beethoven – The Symphonies (6 CD, FLAC)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra: Berliner Philharmoniker
Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 6
Format: FLAC (image+cue)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Size: 1.7 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

CD 01
01-04. Symphony No.1 in C major, Op.21
05-08. Symphonу No.2 D-dur Op.36

CD 02
01-04. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op.55 “Eroica”
05-08. Symphony No. 4 B-dur Op. 60

CD 03
01-04. Symphony No. 5 in C minor, op.67
05-08. Symphony No. 6 in F major, op.68 “Pastoral”

CD 04
01-04. Symphony No.7 in A major, op.92
05-08. Symphony No.8 in F major, op.93

CD 05
01-05. Symphony No.9 in D minor, op.125

CD 06
01-03. Symphony No.9 in D minor, op.125 – Rehearsal

Worth the Upgrade

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. Even if you don’t intend to play the discs on an SACD player, I still recommend purchasing this set over the other issues, unless your level of interest in the performances doesn’t justify the additional expense.

In the future, I hope that DG will do as well remastering more of Karajan’s great performances for SACD. In particular, I would like to have his 1976-1982 Bruckner cycle in this format.

4 thoughts on “Karajan: Beethoven – The Symphonies (6 CD box set, FLAC)”

Leave a Reply