I'd really like to love these performances, Gilels is one of my favourite pianists, his Brahms 2 with Fritz Reiner is fantastic and I've got quite a few other recordings by him. But his Beethoven always seems to be a bit of a let down. His concerto cycle with Szell lacks the fire of say Richter, but it also lacks the beauty Leon Fleisher achieved with the same conductor. Even with his live performance with Szell on orfeo (a fantastic disc with Szell in electrifying mood) of concerto 3 (and more), he seems too occupied with the right notes. That's my main reservation with this set, you can almost hear the effort that he's putting into these readings, the sound is perfect and no note is out of place. But, and let's be fair, who am I to pass judgement on such an artist, that's not what Beethoven is really about, is it?. Give me Richter in a live performance on an out of tune piano anyday, and let me feel the elemental force of Beethoven, albeit twisted and pulled about a bit by that master of the keyboard. You'll of course have to collect Richter performances on various labels and you'll have to make do with a lot less than the 'just short of a complete set' offered here and you'll need to buy more than 9 disc's, but with Richter, if he has nothing to say he doesn't talk. With Gilels, here, I sometimes got the impression that, ironically, the completeness of the venture was more important, some of the sonatas are just too untouched. It's difficult recommending a complete set of the Beethoven sonatas and it's difficult (and expensive) amassing them any other way, but maybe, when Gilels died before he could complete this set, somebody was trying to tell us something. Richter on Praga, live, 4 disc's, 10 sonatas plus the Op120 variations, warts and all, are as complete performances as you are ever likely to get.