Deutsche Grammophon : 4797090 (44 CDs - 1 DVD)


This is a collection of some of the finest recordings the famed Vienna Philharmonic made for Deutsche Gramophone, with varied repertory, conductors and soloists. This is a luxury boxed set that has a 118 page booklet with complete recording information and many photographs. Few of these recordings could be called "historic" as most of those were made for Decca and have been issued by them in their boxed set DECCA VIENNA PHILHARMONIC, praised on this site (REVIEW). Some of the choices in the DG set seem rather arbitrary, but they could only select from what was available on the label. . A majority of these are live recordings. Of course all display the VPO's beauty, and all sound splendid in these new issues.

The only truly "historic" recordings are those by Bruno Walter (Mozart / Mahler, 1953), Furtwängler's Beethoven Ninth and Bruckner Four (1953 - 1951), Hans Knappertsbusch's Schimidt and Schubert (1957), Karl Böhm's Mozart (1976 - 1977) and Johann Strauss. Some choices seem odd: Dvorák symphonies 3 and 7 with Myung-Wha Chung: Elgar, Chabrier and The Merry Widow with John Eliot Gardiner, Richard Strauss conducted by André Previn. . We have Leonard Bernstein (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven), James Levine (Brahms, Mozart, Smetana, Tchaikovsky), Herbert von Karajan (Brahms, Schumann, Dvoák, Mozart, Wagner), Carlo Maria Giulini (Bruckner, Strauss), Pierre Boulez (Mahler, Bruckner), Lorin Maazel (Strauss). Giuseppe Sinopoli (Schumann), Claudio Abbado (Tchaikovsky, Schoenberg, and Rafael Kubelik (Beethoven). More recently, Christian Thielemann is well represented by Strauss, Mendelssohn, Wagner and Weber The DVD offers the Carlos Kleiber 1989 New Year's Concert.

Almost all of these recordings have been released before, but collectors might wish to add this set to their collections as a supplement to other Vienna Philharmonic box sets. And the price is super-budet.

R.E.B. (April 2017)