17 May 2024

P.R. Jenkins

Take This Waltz – Karajan’s collected Strauss family recordings in DG’s “Karajan Digital Library”

“What could I say about Johann Strauss? We all have him in our blood. Musicians really don’t need to talk about him.”
Herbert von Karajan

Next year the Waltz King, Johann Strauss II, will be celebrating his 200th anniversary. Actually, this year is already a Strauss year. On 3 June we will be commemorating the 125th anniversary of his death. Deutsche Grammophon’s new “Karajan Digital Library” Volume 5 not only features the maestro’s interpretations of “Johann Strauss Sohn” but also of his father (Johann I) and his brother Josef. Should waltz music be reserved for the New Year’s Day? Not in Karajan’s opinion. His very last concerts in New York with the Vienna Philharmonic in February 1989 combined Schubert with the Strauss family and he regularly conducted waltzes in festivals and on tour. And he recorded them in every period of his life. The Deutsche Grammophon set is a luxurious candy box with 24 Johann Strauss II waltzes and polkas, two by his father, three by Josef and the complete 1960 Decca “Fledermaus” (the glorious 1987 New Year’s Concert with the Vienna Philharmonic will be published separately). Have a look here.

Herbert von Karajan: “Mein Lebensbericht” aufgezeichnet von Franz Endler, J&V Edition Wien, 1988.

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