Karajan's Japan performance of Beethoven's NINTH (1977-11-18) came out first on CD, and I bought it.
Then it came out on SACD, and I upgraded, to find the sound quality noticeably improved.
I ended up completing the SACD set, which has had no reviews on this site, just one positive vote for the NINTH (maybe my own).
Yesterday I listened again to the NINTH on SACD and found it better than I remembered, but not as crisp and clear as the studio recording from the same year on BDA.
So now the whole set has been announced on five Blu-ray Audios.
What to think?
It is a fine testament to Karajan that a second of his Beethoven cycles will be coming out on BDA. Deutsche Grammophon apparently feel that the market cannot bear more than one Karajan Beethoven cycle, and they are promoting the 1960s cycle (now on a single, magnificent BDA), maybe because they paid so much money to record it, even though it has paid for itself many times over since then. Sony Classical is sitting on the 1980s video cycle after releasing an excellent transfer to laserdisc and a pathetic transfer to DVD.
This is the first venture of Tokyo FM into BDA, but they have released 23 SACD titles altogether. I described the Karl Richter organ SACD as "robust analog stereo," and that would describe the Beethoven discs as well.
In checking about, I find that the SACDs of the Beethoven cycle have gone out of print and most of the titles are also no longer in stock anywhere. So the BDA set will be of benefit to new buyers.
Would not the entire cycle have fit onto a single BDA?
A couple of Japanese online merchants that are not linked to this site announced a December 20th release date, and a price point of 32,400 yen.
What to do?
If the cycle were coming out on a single BDA I would have wanted it for sure.
If the NINTH were obtainable separately, I would have wanted it for sure.
As it is, I have been saving up cash for the Callas opera SACDs due out at the end of the month. Many times we have lamented the shortage of opera on SACD, and NORMA and LA GIOCONDA are particularly welcome releases. Now today I just read that Esoteric are releasing a set of five more operas, including the long-desired CAVALLERIA. Japan, what are you doing to my mind? Focus! I will try to stay focused.