The June 7 issue of the New York Review of Books includes Tim Page’s essay on “a gigantic collection of recordings by Herbert von Karajan (1908–1989), released at the end of last year and billed as the Austrian conductor’s complete recorded output for Deutsche Grammophon and Decca. In all, there are 330 compact discs, twenty-four DVDs, two Blu-Ray audio discs, a handsome pictorial biography … and several booklets. There are 405 hours of music here: the first performance dates from 1938 … and the last from April 1989… a few months before Karajan’s death…. According to the Guinness Book of World Records … this is the ‘largest box set ever issued,’ eclipsing a 2011 award presented to the late Arthur Rubinstein for the ‘largest boxed set of recordings by a single instrumentalist’ (a total of 142 CDs)…. My guess is that listeners who will find these discs in front of whatever passes for a music store in 2070 and can then assemble the equipment to play them properly will be pleased. As a massive monument to a time when the aspirations of classical music and technical commerce mated fruitfully, it can hardly be bettered.”

Posted May 24, 2018