HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Richard Strauss – Death And Transfiguration/Four Last Songs (Karajan/Janowitz)

front_small_boxsetGundula Janowitz had a very beautiful voice that critics like to describe as “creamy,” whatever that means. Strauss had a life-long love affair with the soprano voice. He even married one–not just the voice, the whole woman, of course. His Four Last Songs constitute his dying tribute, and they are probably the most hedonistically gorgeous vocal works in existence. Herbert vo Karajan was a Strauss specialist, as was Janowitz, and together they contrive to perform the songs about as perfectly as they ever have been.

# Composer: Richard Strauss
# Performer: Gundula Janowitz

# Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
# Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
# Vinyl (1974)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR-Analysis: DR 13
# Label: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
# ASIN: B000001GQF
# Size: 970 MB
# Scan: yes
# Server:



This disc could almost be titled `Richard Strauss and the Getting of Wisdom’.

Mahler remarked to his fellow composer that he sought redemption through his art. Strauss reported this dialogue to Klemperer in 1911, adding his own bemused comment: “I’m not sure what it is that I’m supposed to be redeemed from . . . . when I sit at my desk in the morning and an idea comes into my head, I surely don’t need redemption.”

This was said with all the confidence of Wilhelmine Germany. Some thirty years later, having watched evil lap at the very door of his villa at Garmisch, the composer had a different appreciation of matters; the score of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet accompanied him on his death-bed.

These two works reflect this demarcation. Tod und Verklarung is an orchestral showpiece par excellence. There is next to nothing `under the bonnet’ – but again, is one not allowed to revel in the gorgeous orchestral textures for their own sake? The Four Last Songs operate in a different sphere. It would be wrong to say that Strauss was seeking redemption in such works: he was pretty much metaphysics-proof until the day he died. Even so, he boarded Charon’s boat as a wiser, more tempered man whose world had been swept away by barbarism.

The triptych receive near ultimate-performances from Janowitz, Herbie and the Berliners. In Tod und Verklarung, the orchestral torque is stunning. The Four Last Songs is arguably the best performance on disc. When Janowitz sings “O weiter, stille Friede! So tief im Abendrot!” in that creamy, Mater Gloriosa tone of hers, it takes a hardy soul not to self-immolate on the spot.

 Analyzed folder: /96kStr_Tod_Kar/96k Strauss – Tod Und Verklaerung – Karajan
 DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
 DR13        -1.09 dB     -20.16 dB     A Death And Transfiguration.wav
 DR11        -1.55 dB     -17.49 dB     B1 Four Last Songs – Fruehling.wav
 DR13        -2.06 dB     -21.63 dB     B2 Four Last Songs – September.wav
 DR14        -2.51 dB     -22.95 dB     B3 Four Last Songs – Beim Schlafengehen.wav
 DR15        -1.90 dB     -23.40 dB     B4 Four Last Songs – Im Abendrot.wav
 Number of files:    5
 Official DR value:    DR13

Ripping Infos

  • RCM: Okki Nokki (L’art du son, Clearaudio’s Diamond Cleaner)
  • TT: Kenwood KD-7010
  • Cartridge: Denon DL103
  • Phono amp: Pro-Ject Phono Box RS
  • ADC/DAC: RME Fireface UC
  • Pre Amp: Unison Research Unico Pre (Tube)
  • Finals: Opera Consonance 9.9 Mono (Tube)
  • Speakers: Dali Helikon 400
  • Connections: MIT Terminator, Audioquest Emerald, Audioquest Quartz
  • Software: iZotope RX Advanced v2.02, Adobe Audition CS 5.5, Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Light de-Clicking with iZotope, significant clicks manually removing, no De-Noising

If You hear some clicks and pops here and there, Who cares?
Id rather have a few light anomalies instead of destroying the music.
Enjoy the music, not the ticks & pops.

  • DR-Analisys before converting to Flac
  • Converting Wave -> Flac: Twisted Wave 1.9
  • Artwork: Sony Alpha 350, Epson Perfection V750 Pro, Photoshop CS 5.5

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13 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (DGG) Richard Strauss – Death And Transfiguration/Four Last Songs (Karajan/Janowitz)”

  1. Rach, three things:
    1. thanks for your work on this wonderful album.
    2. Thanks for the pix link: you look groovy.
    3. I’m intrigued by the report of Strauss’s philosophy of life and his metaphysical-proof mindset in rationalist Germany; who’d have thunk it? Who put the melodies in his head every morning?

    Just musing; I’ll go back to sleep.

    1. Hi, my Bob…the 1st box I rip will be Bellini’s PURITANI….it’s a funny thing, I thought is the same box I own…but isn’t. Although with Sutherland and Maestro Bonynge, is with Duval instead of Pavarotti…
      Curious to compare both Sutherlands…”yours” with the earlier “mines” 😉

      1. Great! I’m glad I stuck that in the package anyway. It will be great, I’m sure. Also I would like the Sutherland Duval set also. Was that the one from Maggio musicale?

  2. Looking for to listening to this and comparing it to the CD.

    It’s sometimes forgotten that Karajan’s interpretation of Tod und Verklarung set the standard for this work. Karajan was more inside the music than everyone else. Certainly is proof that he was much more than a conductor that was only interested in beautiful noises.


  3. Esta lectura de Muerte y Transfiguración es uno de los mejores trabajos de Karajan. Belleza, sensibilidad, pasión y emoción, todo ello en una obra maestra de R. Strauss. Gracias de nuevo, Rach!!

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