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  • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Sonatas Recorded In Vienna 1983-84) (Daniel Barenboim) (Euroarts: 2066424) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]
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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas (Sonatas Recorded In Vienna 1983-84) (Daniel Barenboim) (Euroarts: 2066424) [Blu-ray] [2012] [Region Free]

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Product details

  • Actors: Daniel Barenboim
  • Format: Box set, Classical, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English, German, French, Japanese
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 26 Nov. 2012
  • Run Time: 714 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00925TA28
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,716 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


New Release on Euroarts's new sub-label: Recorded Excellence Historical Value. The aim of the new series is to make accessible to music lovers and collectors top-quality recordings documenting extra-special concert performances that were hitherto unreleased or were no longer available, either for the first time or as re-releases on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. The main focus is on artists and repertoire. The new series will showcase defining concert moments of music history.

True HD picture! Digitally remastered and restored from 35mm film. Including intensive and high-quality audio and visual restoration.

In this recording, seven-time GRAMMY® Award-winning pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim tackles the so-called 'New Testament' of music, Ludwig van Beethoven's thirty-two piano sonatas.

Composed over twenty-five years and embodying the shift of musical taste from the Classic to the Romantic, their performance requires a musician of extraordinary versatility.

Daniel Barenboim is one such pianist his recordings run the gamut from Bach and Mozart to Bruckner and Bartók. In following in the footsteps of such masters as Artur Schnabel, Barenboim truly shows himself to be among the greatest living musicians.

Bonus: 10 min. Interview with Daniel Barenboim, Vienna 2012, about the recording and the production of the complete Beethoven Sonatas Cycle 1980 - 1984.

Customer Reviews

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Overall: 3.5 Performance: 4.5-5/5 Picture: 2.5/5 Sound: 4.5/5

Few would dispute that Barenboim is a leading exponent of Beethoven. Having listened to his later sonata cycles (the first on EMI is on its way) I put his Beethoven overall somewhere middle of the road. That is actually a compliment. His whole conception, pacing and rhetoric fall naturally into place. That is not to say he has the last word: I have many sets which I return to for individual sonatas.

Alas, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this Blu-ray re-issue of old laser discs. The technical issues are:

1. The picture has been cropped from 4:3 to 16:9, thereby losing a quarter of the total (split between the top and bottom, not necessarily equally). It is not the director's intention. A lot of times the piano and performer are in the bottom half of the frame and the legs of the piano, and/or part of the keyboard are cut off. The pianist is now much closer. The whole framing composition and perspective are destroyed. I can use my video processor to unzoom it back to fit a 4:3 frame (like non-anamorphic widescreen DVDs) and it looks so right all of a sudden. If you don't know that many viewers hate cropping, read the the reviews and comments in other Blu-rays that suffer the same fate (Thunderbirds and The World at War) on Amazon and elsewhere. EuroArts seem to have fallen into a habit of doing this for a few titles now and they don't get the message as long as they get 5* votes.

2. The video has been frame-converted from 25 frames per second to 23.98. Sometimes in the fast passages (not many of these) there is breaking up or jerkiness of movement. This would be expected in the original frame rate but it could be made worse by frame conversion.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Nathan on 2 Dec. 2012
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I own a fair few Beethoven Sonata cycles, including Barenboim's other video cycle for EMI in 2005. That was good. This is absolutely excellent. The tempos are much more considered, the delicacy over the keyboard reaches an extremely high level, and the sound of the Steinway is, as always, wonderful.

As for the filming, this is where this collection, directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, really shines over the Andy Sommer directed EMI cycle. The camera angles are well chosen, the grand rooms in which the cycle is filmed are lovely to look at, and the piano is positioned creatively for the camera (we have an early camera angle watching through a mirror.)

The HD remastering is very well done, the only part where the picture falls down is the 1st movement of he Appassionata, but this is explained in the booklet notes. The sound is beautifully clear and rich at all times.

Musically, Barenboim is in the 3rd of 4 sonata cycles here, and for me, this is his best, from the lovely, flowing adagio cantabile of the Pathetique, to the tower of power that is the Hammerklavier, he handles all with aplomb.

Overall, a collection I absolutely love, well worth the money, and I shall be enjoying it time and time again!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mr. John Crompton on 3 Jan. 2013
I cannot find a single negative thing to say about this set on artistic grounds (ok, one can wish that it was a little less expensive but then again there has clearly been a lot of work done to restore the original film to the fantastic feast for the eye and ear.)
Just one point to to add to the other positive comments from other reviews. The filming was done at a time when it was appreciated that the sort of people who would be interested in Beethoven sonatas would have an attention span of more than five seconds. Therefore whilst the visual image does alter the change is never too rapid and never gimmicky. In fact, it seemed to be remarkably like my own attention span if I had been there myself. After several minutes of seeing the pianist's face or hands it is only right that one's attention should temporaily switch the the splendid settings in which the sonatas were performed. It is probably the case that 99% of the people who buy the bluray will never get to attend a performance in any of these venues given by such a pre eminent artist and the director has done us a great service by allowing us to see the rooms lit so well so we can see lots of detail but at the same time recognising that it is the music being performed that we have paid for.

The brochure has a brief but very useful description of the works which is understandable to a non pianist such as myself. I was wondering if any readers could recommend a book which explores the works in more detail but which does not include too many musical examples as I cannot read music.
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This is the set of the sonatas made by Barenboim at the peak of his pianistic powers and recorded after the earlier set recorded by EMI for LP/CD and before the last set, also recorded by EMI but for Blu-ray and DVD. This review set was made in 1983-4 by Metropolitan Munich on 35mm film. That recording process gave better raw material than video tape of the period and the result of the restoration with the aid of modern techniques makes for a superior technical product within the context of its archive status.

(Update: The new 2014 re-issue of the Metropolitan Munich DVD set, previously issued as separate discs in 2013, now includes the important bonus film/interview from 2012 in which Barenboim explains in detail the concepts lying behind this entire presentation. This bonus film was previously only available on the present Blu-ray set. The new re-issued DVD set therefore offers significantly more material on fewer discs and at a lower cost. It is therefore much better value than before and a closer match to the current Blu-ray set reviewed here).


Presentational considerations:

The set is notable for the considerable input of Barenboim's views and intentions as regards the presentation of the music. This is fully explored in the bonus film as follows: In the interview Barenboim describes how he was approached to record these sonatas as a non-profit making venture by the film maker. This project was undertaken as a result of Barenboim being able to choose his musical director - someone whom he could trust to convey the STRUCTURE of the developing musical ideas visually but specifically NOT BY CONCENTRATING ON FINGER WORK.
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