This collection of "Famous Ballet Music" from DG's mid-priced "2CD" series is truly first-rate. A lot of the credit for that goes to the man in charge of this set, Herbert von Karajan. The great conductor leads the Berlin Philharmonic through glowing highlights and suites from Offenbach's "Gaite Parisienne," Gounod's "Faust," Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" and Delibes' "Coppelia," and the complete Chopin's "Les Sylphides" and "Dance of the Hours" from Ponchielli's "La Gioconda." Of course, the pieces featured here are the types of orchestral nuggets that someone like Karajan and the Berliners could eat for breakfast while reading the paper. But Karajan really prided himself in being one of the stereo-age's best Tchaikovsky conductors, and he made several recordings of each of the three ballet suites in addition to his many Symphonic Cycles. Also, his early 1960s accounts of the Chopin and Delibes in particular (the remainder of the works were recorded in the early 1970s), are as good, if not better, than any performance I have heard. In all, this is a collection that will appeal to the casual fan and serious collector alike.