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Herbert von Karajan & Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra / Symphony No.8 / Dvorák , Symphony No.3 / Brahms The essence of Decca sound, the golden home of classical music, which vividly captures the sound of the elegant and exquisite Vienna Philharmonic
Distributed exclusively by ESOTERIC COMPANY Abailable from end of February, 2010

Discontinued (January, 2011)

■ Product ID: ESSD-90036
■ Format: SA-CD/CD Hybrid
■ Label: Decca
■ DSD mastering / SA-CD layer: Stereo / CD layer: ADD
■ Deluxe Digipak packaging

Masterpiece collection from Decca

The reissuing of the Decca masterpiece series has attracted a lot of attention, both for its uncompromising commitment to recreating the original master recording and for using our hybrid Super Audio CD/CD re-mastering technology to improve sound quality. This series marks the first hybrid SA-CD/CD release of two selections that have been mainstays of the Decca catalog since their initial release on LP, later making their way on to CD. These new re-mastered audio versions feature newly created DSD master.

Karajan's Decca recording project marked a new era

The works of Herbert von Karajan (1908 to 1989) have been re-evaluated from various angles since 2008, which marked the 100th birth anniversary and the 20th death anniversary of the pioneering conductor who was dedicated to recording albums with a never changing, lifelong passion. Karajan left a large volume of recorded works spanning from SP recording to digital recording.

In the course of those recordings, Karajan reached the peak of his long career during a period when he was literally considered to be the “premier conductor” in the Western classical music industry, after he was appointed musical director of the Berlin Philharmonic in 1955, and artistic director of the Salzburg Festival and Vienna State Opera in 1956. Karajan was associated with the Philharmonia Orchestra of London from the early 1950s and made recordings with this orchestra for EMI. From 1959, Karajan also started recording with the Berlin Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra (VPO) for Decca. At that time, the recording industry was gaining momentum because of newly introduced stereophonic technology and consequently Karajan began to dominate the market. In particular, Decca's recordings, which were made with the VPO in collaboration with the great producer John Culshaw, resulted in many remarkable tracks for the diverse orchestral compositions including pioneering recordings of “Also Sprach Zarathustra” and “Planets” and for complete operas with superb musicians and vocalists, in addition to the standard symphony recordings of the time. Among Decca's recordings, ESOTERIC has produced a coupling of Dvorák's Eighth Symphony and Brahms' Third Symphony, recorded in 1961, to offer two highly admired performances on a single CD.

Elegant performances inscribed with the long and close relationship between Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic

In autumn 1959, Karajan joined in a large-scale concert tour with the VPO to Asia including Japan, the U.S., and Canada. In 1960, Karajan conducted the VPO for the opening of a new festival hall “Grosses Festspielhaus” for the Salzburg Festival and their performance of “Der Rosenkavalier” (The Knight of the Rose) was filmed. Through these performances, the relationship between Karajan and the VPO grew rapidly.

In 1961, the year when the two compositions on ESOTERIC's re-master were recorded, Karajan also made a complete recording of “Othello” with Mario del Monaco and Renata Tebaldi in May, and a superb recording of a Christmas album with Leontyne Price in June. When the Vienna State Opera season started in September, Karajan worked intensively with the VPO to make recordings equal to the contents of five LPs, in parallel with the opera performances. These recordings include the “Nutcracker,” “Peer Gynt,” “Giselle,” and “Planets,” as well as two other pieces on this CD. (Karajan conducted Dvorák's Eighth Symphony, which is one of the pieces on this album, for periodical concerts during the same time.)

The close relationship between Karajan and the VPO are fully reflected in the first recordings of two pieces conducted by Karajan that are on ESOTERIC's CD. It is well worth listening to the striking sound of the VPO that spontaneously plays its own music as the orchestra sensitively reacts to the baton of Karajan.

Ultimate sound quality by Super Audio CD (SACD) / CD hybridization

Gordon Parry, a renowned sound engineer, worked for the recording sessions which took place at Safiensaal, in Vienna. These recordings vividly capture the distinctive sound of the Vienna Philharmonic. Beginning with the beautifully mixed sound of cellos and horns introducing the first movement of Dvorák's Eighth Symphony, and up until the exciting climax of the fourth movement, the recording portrays the Vienna Philharmonic in a characteristic performance that never deviates from the original sense of beauty.

Brahms' Third Symphony is conducted in a straightforward manner from Karajan's viewpoint, and a fine performance that only the VPO can offer is effectively demonstrated in many segments of this piece. For example, the delicate sound of clarinets in the second movement, and the melancholy sound of cellos and warm and full-bodied sound of Vienna horns in the third movement. After these recording sessions between September and October in 1961, Karajan made further recordings with VPO for an equivalent of only two LPs until 1965, besides “Carmen” and “Tosca&Rdquo; (complete operas), which were recorded for RCA. The larger body of Karajan痴 works can be found in recordings made with the Berlin Philharmonic for Deutsche Grammophon, such as all the Beethoven symphonies (started in late 1961) and all the Brahms symphonies (started in 1963).
Karajan during a recording session.

Karajan during a recording session.

Title and track list
Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904)
Symphony No.8 in G, Op.88 (B163)
1 I. Allegro con brio
2 II. Adagio
3 III. Scherzo: Allegretto grazioso
4 IV. Allegro ma non troppo

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Symphony No.3 in F, Op.90
5 I. Allegro con brio
6 II. Andante
7 III. Poco allegretto
8 IV. Allegro
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Conducted by Herbert von Karajan
Producer: John Culshaw
Engineer: Gordon Parry
Location: Sofiensaal, Vienna
Recording date:
  Dvorák: 29 Sep. - 08 Oct. 1961, Sep.1963
  Brahms: 29 Sep. - 08 Oct. 1961
Producer: Motoaki Ohmachi (ESOTERIC COMPANY)
Mastering Engineer: Kazuie Sugimoto (JVC Mastering Center)

Karajan during a recording session.

Karajan during a recording session.