HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI) Richard Strauss – Ein Heldenleben/A Hero’s Life (Karajan)

front_small_boxsetIf you are looking for a definitive version of “Ein Heldenleben” this is the one, so beatifully recorded and phrases are just fantastic and clean. The powerful berlin philharmonic orchestra has never been so huge and strong as in this recording. A must have.

# Composer: Richard Strauss
# Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
# Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
# Vinyl (1974)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR-Analysis: DR 12
# Label: Angel (EMI)
# ASIN: B000002S8C
# Size: 893 MB
# Scan: yes
# Server:



How many Karajan’s “Ein Heldenleben” do we listeners have access to? Let’s quickly count them. The original 1959 DG version. This 1974 EMI recording. The Karajan Gold CD from the 1980s. Then there are the live versions… the Moscow account on Melodiya and there are two more from London concerts on Testament. One from the 70s and the other from the 80s. That’s 6 total.

Where does this EMI CD rank? It’s as good as any and has special, unique qualities of it’s own. One thing you’ll notice is the lushness of the sound quality and the orchestra’s playing. You might say, but Karajan is always lush and he’s always ultra lush in Strauss, so what? But this account has even more of it, that’s what. It’s an orgy of late romanticism contained in a mere spinning disk. By the 1970s, Karajan’s Berlin Philharmonic fused together into a juggernaut. It’s true that the 1959 DG recording has a more human touch to it. But in this music, the superhuman element is also a must and no version does it better than the swooning, soaring ecstasy conjured up by the Berlin Philharmonic of the 1970s.

The opening whoosh of the Hero Section is actually a bit tame compared to Ormandy for instance. But Karajan takes his time and very soon we are intoxicated by the sound. The strings are simply peerless and their climaxes seem to go on forever. If I can pinpoint my favorite part of this performance, it would be the Battle Scene and lead in to the Hero’s Works of Peace. The sections of the orchestra are highly individualized but somehow are blended into a wall of manic sound I haven’t encountered anywhere. Karajan really loves this music and it shows. The brass and percussion are incredible. The build up to the quoted motif from “Don Juan” soars with a rare power. I get really caught up in this music when it’s played and conducted this gloriously.

Analyzed folder: /96kStr_HeLeb_Kar/96k Strauss – Ein Heldenleben – Karajan
DR        Peak        RMS        Filename
DR11        -1.00 dB     -15.92 dB     A1 The Hero.wav
DR13        -5.91 dB     -24.15 dB     A2 His Adversaries.wav
DR13        -4.56 dB     -24.34 dB     A3 His Companion.wav
DR11        -1.31 dB     -14.68 dB     B1 His Prowess In Battle.wav
DR12        -5.10 dB     -23.66 dB     B2 His Peaceful Labors.wav
DR13        -1.08 dB     -21.89 dB     B3 His Retirement And Life’s Fulfillment.wav
Number of files:    6
Official DR value:    DR12


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

DONATION ! If you like what i do, please consider that a little donation would be very appreciate. I reinvest all donations in maintenance of my rig, for purchasing cleaning solutions and, most important of all, purchasing of new vinyls. Click on the “Donate”-button. Thank you very much !

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PW: LaWally

15 thoughts on “HD-Vinyls 24/96 (EMI) Richard Strauss – Ein Heldenleben/A Hero’s Life (Karajan)

  1. Thanks for this Rach.

    I remember when the original LP was first released the Karajan haters not liking the cover photo of the maestro. It was certainly one of the most discussed classical LP cover photos ever.

    What the haters didn’t want to acknowledge that this is a fine performance. All of Karajan’s audio/video performances of this work are fascinating. The interpretation is different to that of Carlos Kleiber with the VPO in 1993 which is much faster with lither textures. Both conductors were master interpreters of Strauss and have a view of the work that is completely valid.

  2. thanks rach!!! fantastic performance!!!!! is it possible that you can upload another karajan’s ein heldenleben by DGG in 1959? that one is quite nice as well!!!!!

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