Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 - Karajan

Bach: Brandenburg Concertos 1-6 - Karajan

Universal (Japan)  UCGG-9200 (2 discs)

Stereo Single Layer

Classical - Orchestral

Bach: 6 Brandenburg Concertos

Berliner Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan (conductor)

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Analogue recording
Comments (7)

Comment by Contrapunctus - September 8, 2021 (1 of 7)

These late 1970s recordings vastly benefit from the new EBS remastering. I'd like to draw attention to the new remix, which leads in turn to some remarkable changes regarding the balance between soloists and tutti. Especially the cembalo is now more prominent (5th concerto!). Thankfully, all of the annoying artifical reverb found on all RBCD incarnations is no longer present.

Comment by Athenaeus - November 17, 2021 (2 of 7)

My comment is not about this particular recording but about Universal Japan's SACDs of great analogue recordings in general. The above set, which came out in September, was the most recent installment in their program. The next announced releases were Tchaikovsky 4, Tchaikovsky 6 and some Prokofiev and Saint-Saëns, three discs all conducted by Karl Böhm (UPC 4988031441268, 4988031441275 and 4988031441282). They were initially planned for September; they were then pushed back to October; and then November. I just noticed that all three discs were cancelled a few weeks ago. And there are no other remasterings of analogue classics planned at the moment — as far as I know. I hope this cancelling of the Böhm releases and the lull in upcoming titles does not mean Universal Japan are abandoning this remastering program. It would be a great shame as it has given us a lot of excellent SACDs over the years.

Comment by DYB - November 22, 2021 (3 of 7)

Athenaus, that's very concerning news... I hope it doesn't mean anything long-term because I agree there have been many fantastic releases.

Comment by Contrapunctus - November 25, 2021 (4 of 7)

Although I don't have any insider information, I think that the cancellation of the mentioned Böhm recordings is nothing to be seriously worried about. Of course it's sad for Böhm devotees. I really like Böhm's Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms, but I'm not so sure about these recordings.

However, my point is, that we've seen some years with only few new SHM-SACD offerings (e.g. 2013-2015). Universal Japan's output of yearly new SHM-SACD offerings increased remarkably in 2017 with the Karajan series. After that we have been used to see nearly monthly releases of at least one new SHM-SACD. I would not be surprised at all if we are going to see now an upcomming (pandemic-influenced) time with less new releases, probably in the way we've seen in 2013-2016.

Btw, the current cancellation is not the first one; in 2019, release of Karajan's Bohème (Decca 1972; UCGD-9063) was withdrawn in the same way.

Looking back, I never thought that so many SHM-SACDs would be released at all. I have been collecting these discs for about 10 years now. Most of my wishes have come true. Even though I enjoy most of the releases, I have found that there are also cases where there are only minor / subtle improvements and one must admit that the original recording quality and / or the current condition of the tapes is simply not sufficient.

Comment by Athenaeus - November 25, 2021 (5 of 7)

I actually wasn't going to buy any of these new Böhm releases either. They don't seem to be among his best recordings. But like you I have bought most of his Beethoven, Brahms and Mozart on SACD. I also have his Bruckner and Schubert.

I remember the cancellation of the La Bohème release. I had reserved it. It's a mystery to me why they cancelled that one. I'm sure it would have sold well.

But thank you for reminding me that we used to have less releases before. I guess you're right about the Karajan "run" causing an increase in the number of releases. Universal also had a good Böhm run, which certainly contributed to the increase too. That run ended this year, it seems.

While we're on the topic of the major labels remastering their back catalogue on SACD... Sony are still quite active. They have a lot of Bruno Walter coming, and also some Rudolf Kempe and Dimitri Mitropoulos. I already have most of the Walter in the SACD box-sets they released earlier but I'll certainly be buying the Kempe and Mitropoulos.

Comment by DYB - November 28, 2021 (6 of 7)

Yes, it is safe to say Karl Böhm is not known for his Tchaikovsky! (And I'm still mad and confused by the cancellation of Karajan's "La Boheme.")

Comment by Athenaeus - February 10, 2022 (7 of 7)

It's Groundhog Day at Universal Japan...

They have just announced that they will actually release Böhm's Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev. Currently, the release date is April 6th for all three discs. Although these aren't recordings I intend to buy, I still think it's great news. It apparently means Universal Japan haven't given up on releasing SACD remasterings of their analogue classics.

These three SACDs hadn't only been delayed; they're being resurrected, so to speak. They have different UPC numbers than before. Tchaikovsky 4 is now 4988031501085, Tchaikovsky 6 is 4988031501092 and Prokofiev 4988031501108. The catalogue numbers have also changed.