Many, if not most, of us collectors hold the Beethoven symphonies to be the apex of the symphonic canon. However, do we all have one cycle that does us fine, or do we have several? Which one is our absolute favourite? Is there one cycle that is sorely needed in the event of the famed 'desert island' scenario.
As for me, to kick off, I still consider myself not to have three or four sets that may change my Beethoven listening 'landscape'. But, I do have five cycles - Karajan 1963, Bernstein 1960s, Solti 1972-74, Karajan 1977 and Norrington 1980s. Of all of these, the Karajan '77 one remains the best for me. Despite it's detractors it has the gorgeous sweep and dramatic fire that makes these works so monumental. However, Harnoncourt beckons...
OK, so over to you...
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