Karajan/VPO: Richard Strauss Death & Transfiguration, etc. - Decca SDD 211
Jacket EX / LP EX / UK pressing
This beautiful LP from Decca (SDD 211, English pressing, white label, stereo) features conductor Herbert von Karajan and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in a magnificent all-Richard Strauss album, sumptuously recorded in the warm acoustics of the Sofiensaal, Vienna, in June and September* 1960 (producer: Erik Smith / engineer: James Brown).
The exact contents are as follows:
Tod und Verklärung Op. 24
Till Eulenspiegel lustige Streiche Op. 28
Salome Op. 54: Dance of the Seven Veils*
With Fritz Reiner, Clemens Kraus, Karl Bohm, and Rudolf Kempe, Karajan was indisputably one of the great conductors of the last century of Richard Strauss’ music, melding visionary imagination with tonal opulence, orchestral virtuosity, and architectural strength that was often in a class of its own, even if not to everyone’s taste. This is exalted conducting (and playing) by any measure and those who love these scores will find much to admire here.
There are extensive liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, provided in English only. The extraordinary cover art was executed by Ralph Moore-Morris.
Those who snub Decca's Ace of Diamonds pressings in favor of their earlier SXL or CS imprints are missing out. The same demonstration quality sound can be heard, but in more modern pressings. Moreover, the Ace of Diamonds series boasted their own unique artwork, in many cases even more striking than earlier editions of the same recordings. They should please the audiophile, Karajan, Decca, or Strauss collector in equal measure – Ace of Diamonds was a wonderful series.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the jacket is EXCELLENT. There is minor bumping at corners and mild discoloration/ringwear to the rear panel, but really that is all. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners’ markings, or other defects, and the jacket remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, an excellent collector’s copy.
The condition of the LP itself is EXCELLENT. Though there is occasional light surface noise, in general the playback remains quite fine. However, those wanting a flawless or near-MINT copy are kindly advised to look elsewhere. Overall, this rates as an excellent collector's copy.