The compact disc, as a sound carrier, was still on the horizon when Herbert von Karajan urged his record company to utilize the new digital technology in his recordings. Consequently Karajan's Magic Flute, recorded in 1980, became the first release of a Deutsche Grammophon digital production and was first released on LP. By the time the maestro died in 1989, the CD had finally replaced the LP as the primary sound carrier, yet he was realistic enough to know that the pioneering early stages of the digital era would be followed by further technical development. This is reflected in Karajan Gold. In this series the later development of the digital process that occurs after Karajan's death could be turned to the benefit of the Maestro's own recordings. Thirty releases from the early digital era were remastered for this series using DG's special Original-Image Bit-Processing technology. They were issued between 1993-1995.
This is a live 1982 production of Verdi's last opera, at the Salzburg festival with Herbert von Karajan conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker. The singers are Giuseppe Tadei (Sir John Falstaff), Raina Kabaivanska (Alice Ford), Rolando Panerai (Ford), Francisco Araiza (Fenton) and Christa Ludwig (Quickly).
Musically, the performance is excellent and the stage is finely designed, specially the forest in the third act. Video quality is high and sound quality is good. I highly recommend this recording of Verdi's probably best opera.
In light of the "chill-out" trend of the 1990s, major labels released many albums of slow, meditative pieces to appeal to listeners who wanted relaxing or reflective background music. Deutsche Grammophon's vaults are full of exceptional recordings of classical orchestral music, and the performances by Herbert von Karajan and the Berlin Philharmonic are prominent in the label's catalog. The slow selections on Karajan: Adagio are in most cases drawn from larger compositions, though these movements are frequently anthologized as if they were free-standing works. Indeed, many have come to think of the Adagietto from Gustav Mahler's Symphony No. 5 as a separate piece in its own right, largely because of its evocative use in the film Death in Venice. Furthermore, the famous Canon by Johann Pachelbel is seldom played with its original companion piece, the Gigue in D major, let alone in its original version for three violins and continuo; it most often appears in an arrangement for strings.