KARAJAN in Hollywood (1959) - PASC227

This album is included in the following sets:

KARAJAN in Hollywood (1959) - PASC227

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STAFFORD SMITH The Star Spangled Banner
WAGNER Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Overture
IVES The Unanswered Question
MOZART Symphony No. 35 'Haffner'
R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben
Recorded live in 1959, Hollywood
Total duration: 79:29

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
conductor Herbert von Karajan

This set contains the following albums:

Karajan's only ever appearance with the LA Philharmonic

Featuring his only ever performance of music by Charles Ives

Herbert von Karajan opened the LA Philharmonic's 38th Season with this concert at the Hollywood Bowl on 2nd July, 1959. It was the only time he ever conducted the orchestra, and one of only a very small handful of concerts where Karajan conducted an American orchestra.

Adding further to its rarity is the fact that this is the only known performance by Karajan of one of Charles Ives' best known works, The Unanswered Question - indeed, there is no record of Karajan having ever conducted anything else by the composer. It is also interesting to note that no performances of the American national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner, appear in Karajan's official discography and concert performance listings - though the fact that the present performance is also omitted means we cannot be sure that this was the only time he conducted it.


Transfer notes

A few days after the release by Pristine Audio of the third of three volumes of Karajan in New York I was contacted and offered a copy of the present recording for restoration and release by a collector who prefers to remain anonymous. (It should be stated here that this is not unusual - friends and collectors tend to quietly circulate recordings like this between each other, and often may not wish to upset the person who originally offered them their copy when it appears commercially!)

The recording was rather hissy and the sound quality somewhat strident in the mid-range and lacking in bass. Although copies are now easily made using digital media, it's almost certain that this originated on tape, and may of course not be a first-generation copy. As a result I carried out channel phase correction before combining left and right channels back to the original mono (the concert was broadcast in mono and stereo, but we currently have no access to any stereo recording).

XR remastering helped to correct some of those tonal flaws and greatly improve the overall sound quality. I had to contend with a number of aeroplanes - this was after all an outdoor concert - the echoes of which may still occasionally be audible, and there was a short and slight treble reduction during the Wagner, which remains. Overall, however, the sound quality is pretty well retained, with a decent frequency and dynamic range, if not quite the full clarity one might hope for in an FM radio broadcast.

The original recording I was sent ran to some three minutes over the available space on a CD. Fortunately the tightening of some gaps, editing of the announcer's speech and some lengthy applause allowed me to fit the entire performance onto a single disc - so don't be alarmed at the speed with which the conductor seems to leave and reappear on the stage during applause at the end of a performance!

Andrew Rose

  • STAFFORD SMITH The Star Spangled Banner
  • WAGNER Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg - Overture
  • IVES The Unanswered Question
  • MOZART Symphony No. 35 'Haffner' in D, K385
  • R. STRAUSS Ein Heldenleben, Op. 40
    David Frisina, Violin

    Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
    conductor Herbert von Karajan

    Live radio broadcast from Hollywood Bowl, 2nd July, 1959

    Transfers of radio broadcast provided by a private collector
    XR remastering by Andrew Rose at Pristine Audio, May 2010
    Cover artwork based on a photograph of Karajan rehearsing for this concert

    Total duration: 79:29