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Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas Box set


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Product details

  • Performer: Daniel Barenboim
  • Audio CD (28 Sept. 1998)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00000C2KP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 112,198 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

NO BOOKLET ENCLOSED

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

105 of 107 people found the following review helpful By John Austin HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on 31 Mar. 2001
Format: Audio CD
A complete set of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas will provide any serious music lover with rich and endless enjoyment. Bold, challenging, beautiful, witty and fresh - they seem to encompass all aspects of human sensibility and aspiration. It is perhaps the wit and the freshness that impress most in Barenboim's EMI boxed set of the complete sonatas.
Daniel Barenboim was 25 when he was invited to record them. Has any other pianist ever received such an invitation at that age? Barenboim accepted, but insisted that he be free to record them again if he wished to at a later stage in his career. Well, so far he has made one further complete recording, and that is very fine too.
This set, however, recorded 1966-1969, is the one complete set I prefer above all others. Every listener will have his favourite sonatas and his favourite moments in them. I especially like Barenboim's spontaneous playing of the four sonatas found on CD 8. Elsewhere, Barenboim sometimes has a tendency to push slow tempos to extreme: the variation movements of Nos 30 and 32 are surely excessively slow.
Welcome indeed, especially for those who once owned these recordings on first release vinyl, is the high quality of these 1989 EMI transfers. Adding inestimably to the value of this set are the notes provided by Eric Blom. Slightly abridged and edited here, they originally accompanied the first complete recording of the 32 sonatas made in the 1930s by Artur Schnabel.
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49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By David C. Coleman on 13 Dec. 2006
Format: Audio CD
Whenever I buy a set of CD's at such a discount price, I instantly question the reason(s) why they are so cheap. Especially when I see who the artist(s) are and what the record label is, as is the case here.
But my fears are laid to rest because I think this is one of the best value for money items I've ever bought.

I actually remember owning part of this Barenboim cycle on old vinyl LP's (in a different era!) so I know what I was to expect.
Being re-mastered on CD's has meant a new crispness and dynamics to the recording, breathing new life to, what I think are very competent and sensitive accounts of these wonderful works (I actually think this Beethovens' most expressive and intimate medium as he was, primarily, a pianist).

Barenboim has a very understated approach to the works; letting them, largely, speak for themselves. Not putting too much personal interpretation into them, but at the same time having a sensitivity and clarity to form and structure, and an understanding of the musical mind of the composer.
He is not frightened of including the exposition repeats. Something that was sadly not observed with other artists of the mid-to-late twentieth century.

Recordings are, by and large, good, considering their age (mainly 60's and 70's) when Barenboim was at his peak as a pianist. It's a shame though, that some of the works are not laid out in chronoligical or compositional order on the ten discs. If, like me, you want to follow the works in compositional order to grasp the musical thinking of the composer at the time: You have to chop and change discs somewhat! And also, even though there are adequate write ups for the music there is nothing on Barenboim himself.
But these are small quibbles considering that you're paying about 2-50 GBP per disc...
Great value for money and you won't go far wrong with them...
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71 of 75 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 20 Feb. 2002
Format: Audio CD
The title of my review was a series Barenboim made in the late 70's of all the piano sonatas to be shown on television, and there is a simple reason why this series was made; he is the best. There are no bad points to these sets of recordings, so I will now list all the advantages of this great set.
Firstly the sound quality is excellent, EMI have done a fantastic job restoring these recordings from the 60's. The piano itself has a wonderful metalic and crisp sound to it, and the notes come through exactly as desired.
The playing itself is in a word, divine. Barenboim understands the passion in Beethoven, especially in his piano music, and wields this knowledge to full effect. The contrast between soft and loud is phenominal; the 1st movement of Moonlight is so blissfully quiet while the conclusion of No. 30 will knock you over. The sweeping changes in volume are beautifully heard in the 3rd movement of the Tempest. Barenboim takes his time with the sonatas, and are considered by some to be too slow, but to me he is just savouring every note. Pianists like Kempf tend to rush Beethoven and play like Bach would play it i.e. as a nice relaxing tune on a sunny afternoon. Barenboim lifts the music of the pages and into your hearts and minds. You get the feeling he plays how Beethoven would have wanted to, had pianos been stronger when he was writing.
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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Ronan M. Conroy on 3 May 2006
Format: Audio CD
I didn't much like these recordings when they appeared in the sixties. And now I realise why. Barenboim isn't exactly playing the Great Virtuoso here. There's little to impress a teenager. But lots to delight a much older listener.

The playing is understated. Barenboim seems to dislike letting local colour detract from the larger vision of the music as a whole. Certainly, this can short-change some of Beethoven's abrupt changes of dynamics, which somehow lose their shock value, but it allows for a great sense of coherence traversing the late sonatas.

And the smaller, less well known sonatas get, in the main, readings that bring out their treasures. The F-sharp sonata, for example, is full of felicities, though you might want a little more glee in the second movement.

Good companions, these recordings, which waited, probably with a knowing smile, forty years for me to start to treasure them.
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