Limited Edition: Karajan Beethoven Symphonies


Celebrating 120 Years of Deutsche Grammophon the yellow label presents a landmark in the history of recorded music: This special edition of Herbert von Karajan’s 1963 Beethoven Symphony Cycle  is a particularly thrilling part of the DG120 celebrations as only 120 of this 8LP super deluxe art set will be manufactured, presented in a luxury black linen box with artwork specially commissioned from artist Gregor Hildebrandt.

The Berlin based artist is known for his use of cassette tape and vinyl as raw material in the creative process. Pressed on 180gsm vinyl by OPTIMAL and mastered from original ATP files, this set also includes, for the first time a download code for the complete repertoire in 24bit/96kHz. This special edition, each of the 120 sets with a unique piece of art, will be exclusively available via mail order.

  • Limited-Edition of 120 numbered 8LP sets of Karajan’s famous 1963 Beethoven Symphony Cycle presented in a luxury black linen set newly designed by artist Gregor Hildebrandt. The top of the lift-off lid box functions as a piece of art, when mounted to a wall.
  • Limited to 120 sets worldwide; each set is numbered and signed by artist Gregor Hildebrandt.
  • Includes 9 Leporellos presenting reproductions of original art specially commissioned for this set from Gregor Hildebrandt, where the artist has created a visual representation of each symphony.
  • portrait of Karajan:  based on a picture  – by Siegfried Lauterwasser –  Gregor Hildebrandt has created a unique piece of art for each set using cassette tape as his choice of media.
  • One art print with special artistic intervention.
  • 24-page facsimile booklet of the original release with new cover art by Hildebrandt.
  • Additional liner notes by Richard Osborne.
  • Mastered from original ATP files  and pressed on eight 180gsm heavyweight vinyl at OPTIMAL.
  • Engraving in the final groove of the final disc: wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt.
  • Download Voucher which allows consumers to download the symphonies as mp3 files or in 24bit/96kHz for free.
  • The edition can be purchased for 950€ including global shipping, exclusively via mail order.

The famous 1963 Karajan Beethoven Symphonies

Karajan recorded the Complete Symphonies of Beethoven no fewer than 4 times for DG, but his first recording, made in 1963, was financially the most daring, artistically the most radical, and commercially the most successful.

It was estimated that over 100,000 boxes would have to be sold if Deutsche Grammophon’s gargantuan 1.5 million Deutschmark investment was to be recouped. The head of a rival company predicted that Deutsche Grammophon was heading for “a colossal financial catastrophe”.

By 1973 nearly one million sets had been sold, ten times the original breakeven estimate. 50 years on from its original launch, the set remains the best-selling Beethoven cycle of all time.

The 1963 Berlin set dazzled like no other, aided in no small measure by the clean, clear, daringly “lit” recordings made in Berlin’s Jesus-Christus-Kirche by the young Günter Hermanns whose debut as Karajan’s principal recording engineer this was.

Critics and the record-buying public were enthused above all by the urgency and beauty of the music-making and by a fierce sense of joy which reached its apogee in a thrillingly played and eloquently sung account of the finale of the epic Ninth Symphony.

Herbert von Karajan © Siegfried Lauterwasser

Gregor Hildebrand © Luise Müller-Hofstede

The Artist Gregor Hildebrand