What an impressive set. The astonishing vitality and freshness of insight make it difficult to believe the recordings were made when Menuhin was nearly eighty! He brings a generous wealth of experience and his own legendary musical gifts. There cannot be the slightest doubt about Menuhin’s wholehearted commitment to the music. And the Sinfonia Varsovia match his enthusiasm with superb response, their playing is beautiful, agile and full of energy. There is nothing in the least routine about Menuhin’s conducting. The string phrasing is marvellously agile and alert. Menuhin is able to combine the closest attention to the score with an utterly unsentimental truthfulness, the results are deeply moving but not in the least fussy. Tempi are generally fast, some hair-raisingly so! The finales of 2, 4, 8 and especially 7 carry a thrilling positive charge. The 5th has power and drive without any bombast. The Eroica, the Pastoral and the 9th are full of genuine joy and fiery light. Beautifully produced recordings carry truthfully balanced detail, catching at one extreme the strings’ almost breathless whisper at the start of the slow movements of 3 and 7 and at the other the outrageously thrilling timpani. This is a very special set of Beethoven performances, an absolute bargain not to be missed.