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48 Reviews
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168 of 175 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The LSO and Haitink bring Beethoven to life
Beethoven's complete symphony cycles increase steadily through the years, from the early 1940's Furtwangler mono recordings, to the much cherished 1960's Karajan analogue stereo vinyl pressings, and now the digital versions on CD.

What's best is a matter of choice depending on whether the importance lies in authenticity in terms of both period instruments and...
Published on 13 April 2008 by Mart

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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but too dry and too fast
Haitink and LSO are delivering one of the best recordings of the Beethoven symphonies in recent years.
It has clarity, drive and some superb playing. But as many modern recordings Haitink is setting a speed that isn't giving the music a chance. The natural pace is lost. The slower movements are running away from me.
The recording is a bit dry, with acoustics...
Published on 20 April 2012 by Per Arne Rudberg


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but too dry and too fast, 20 April 2012
By 
Per Arne Rudberg "P-A Rudberg" (Vallentuna, Sweden) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
Haitink and LSO are delivering one of the best recordings of the Beethoven symphonies in recent years.
It has clarity, drive and some superb playing. But as many modern recordings Haitink is setting a speed that isn't giving the music a chance. The natural pace is lost. The slower movements are running away from me.
The recording is a bit dry, with acoustics being quite moffling the sound and giving the notes a feeling of being very short.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant must have item-great value as well!, 6 Jun 2011
By 
Mr. M. T. Ridley (London England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
I am very very impressed with this cd boxed set. I have not listened to many different versions of these symphonies, so I am not really qualified to say whether the interpretation is superior/inferior to other recordings. However I am an experienced music listener and can confirm that these are great recordings. The actual recording quality is really superb-as other reviewers said, you can hear every instrument and the sound is very powerful, crisp and transparent. Also the presentation of the set is superb-a generous booklet and good photos on the individual wallets make this a really classy set. I felt a bit guilty buying it for myself! Had I known it was going to be so nice I would have saved it for a birthday/christmas present. If you have relatives that are into classical music I'm sure this would make a great (and affordable) present for them. I'm planning to buy another copy for my dad's birthday. Highly recommended.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect, 22 Jun 2008
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
this is my favourite set of the beethoven symphonies..the sound is superb, and the playing has plenty of energy and feeling - quite a fast pace to other versions though
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5.0 out of 5 stars He may now be 85 but Haitink is never predictable or boring. (These recordings were made in 2005 and 2006 ..., 30 Sep 2014
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Revelatory would be my one-word summary of this Beethoven symphony cycle by the London Symphony Orchestra under Bernard Haitink. He may now be 85 but Haitink is never predictable or boring. (These recordings were made in 2005 and 2006 when the Dutchman was a relative youngster.) It's big band Beethoven but the sense of attacking the music that Haitink produces from the LSO shows just how much historically-informed performance has transformed the way Beethoven is played nowadays. And I was pleasantly surprised not to encounter the now almost legendary acoustical problems associated with the Barbican venue in London. The way the timpanis leap out of your speakers/headphones makes this an edge-of-seat rollercoaster experience. Try the 4th symphony for starters. At the time of writing, the whole lot ( and you get the Triple Concerto as a bonus) will cost you under £9 as an excellent MP3 download. It's the old story. Just when you think you couldn't possibly stomach yet another Beethoven symphony cycle, one comes along that blows your cynicism right out of the water. It's called genius and wasn't Ludwig van Beethoven the ultimate of the breed ?
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth getting an SACD payer for, 24 Jan 2010
By 
Leslie Firbank (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
These symphonies sounds really good in stereo in CD (I don't know how they compare to other recordings, but I like them), but with SACD and surround sound it's a different level of involvement altogether. Terrific value
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculously brilliant!, 4 Feb 2011
This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
I just received this for my birthday (29, thanks for asking), and have so far listened to disc 1 (No 3 'Eroica' & Leonore Overture No 2), and disc 2 (nos 4 & 8). I really don't know anything about classical music, but recently gave in to a primal craving for Beethoven. I don't know if it's because I approaching my 30s and require grown-up music, or if I've always been aware that I have been ignoring huge amounts of fantastic music.

I gave 'Eroica' a listen based upon the interesting revolutionary context in which it was written, and became an instant convert. This CD immediately went top of my wish list. The symphonies of Beethoven are so moving, dramatic and awe inspiring. I think they say something fundamental and primal to the European mind, and would be an excellent way for the human race to show off when the aliens make first contact.

I still have six more symphonies to listen to, a life time of repeat listening, and plenty to learn about this wonderful music.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 21 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
I already own a selection of recordings of Beethoven symphonies, including the complete symphonies by Simon Rattle and Gunter Wand. The LSO set is the most engaging I have heard (but that is not to dismiss the others). Perhaps the SACD format adds to the quality of the listening experience. Rattle's 9th symphony does have the chorus, and so this LSO set automatically takes preference as the best choice between the two. The comments made by the other reviewers seem to me to be very well judged, and are not exaggerating the quality of these particularly fine recordings. Do not hesitate to purchase this set as it will not disappoint.Beethoven: Complete Symphonies
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning performance and great sound on SACD, 20 Feb 2012
This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
I'm by no means a connoisseur when it comes to classical music but I do know good and great performances when I hear them, me being a musician myself.

These performances are absolutely in the "GREAT" category! Joyful, playful, passionate, intense, swift are just a few of the words that come to mind to describe the performances by the LSO.

The sound quality on these SACDs is phenomenal in my opinion. Taking into account that these are live recordings (you'd never know except for the slightest sound you hear emanating from the audience through the rear speakers very occasionally) the depth and dynamic range on tap are just marvellous. Definitely a multichannel (5.1) record where you hear the orchestra coming through the rears in particular during the somewhat louder parts.

Easily recommended!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Four good choices, 2 May 2012
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
The London Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Haitink, Beethoven and hybrid SACD: a splendid combination. Although I had several symphonies on CD already, this box is now my default choice. Top quality.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's Beethoven Jim, but..., 21 Mar 2012
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
It's difficult to give out stars here, I'm no cosmologist. There are reviews here and on the net testifying to the musical merits or otherwise of these versions of the Beethoven symphonies; I bought them as a way of listening to a uniform interpretation to discover them, not knowing the music beyond the famous bits - and because they were on SACD, hoping this would illuminate in 5.1 surround.
With some I get the feeling it should all be a bit more - No. 9 for example does not seem as exultant as I'd anticipated - and as far as the surround goes it's a mixed bag - No. 6 the pastoral is a surround as you might expect, immersive, while others are orchestra to the front and a bit of ambience and for some I've got up to see if the rear is actually working (yes it is but why if that's all there is?). Nos 1. 4 & 8 have been quite a revelation to me - not the famous bits but boy do they go!
For live performances there is no audible "audience" - a blessed contrast to some Radio 3 broadcasts - which I assume means hall ambience is engineered back in (or not as the case may be...). So the "dry sound" comments have a basis.
Nevertheless, and I'm still listening to these after some 3 months from purchase to "find" them, you could do worse than this set. The non symphony content is no great advantage here; some sets simply have Nos. 1-9 with no frills - no problem.
So four stars as a stab in the dark really - but it's an enjoyable set.
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies
Beethoven: Complete Symphonies by London Symphony Orchestra (Audio CD - 2007)
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