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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mendelberg (1871-1951) considered he had a link with Beethoven
PLEASE READ for your positive benefit. I write my reviews on paper before I place them on Amazon's Classical site. Very useful for me, as I wrote this One month and 26 days ago, when this box set was approximately 29 pounds. I ordered this set 17th May 2014 and it arrived 22nd May, costing 29 pounds 49 cents. Yet as I was about to place this online, this box set went up...
Published 1 month ago by Ultrarunner

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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Mengelberg
I wanted this box primarily to replace my old LPs of the Matthew Passion and Brahms Requiem, undoubtedly great performances of their kind, with the bonus of a complete Beethoven cycle and other attractions. Alas, my hopes of cleaned-up sound with the greater sonic range of most self-respecting modern transfers of this kind of material were not realised. Both choral works...
Published 8 months ago by Christopher Dyment


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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Poor Mengelberg, 24 Dec 2013
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Christopher Dyment (Hertfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Concertgebouw Recordings (Audio CD)
I wanted this box primarily to replace my old LPs of the Matthew Passion and Brahms Requiem, undoubtedly great performances of their kind, with the bonus of a complete Beethoven cycle and other attractions. Alas, my hopes of cleaned-up sound with the greater sonic range of most self-respecting modern transfers of this kind of material were not realised. Both choral works have insuperable woolly sound of limited range. Others, such as the Bartok Violin Concerto and Beethoven 9th, merely (to my ears) copy rather poor existing sound, as heard in the earlier Concertgebouw issue of live Mengelberg recordings. The Schubert 9th is in tolerably ok sound. But I'm sure that, given a Ward Marston or Obert-Thorn or, indeed, any of the several fine transferors now coming on stream, much more could have been done to clarify and enhance the originals. So caveat emptor, even if you are a Mengelberg neophyte - persist only if you are in a rush to own a good cross-section of the work of this unparalleled orchestral trainer and remarkably distinctive interpreter.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mendelberg (1871-1951) considered he had a link with Beethoven, 12 July 2014
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Ultrarunner (Perth-West Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Concertgebouw Recordings (Audio CD)
PLEASE READ for your positive benefit. I write my reviews on paper before I place them on Amazon's Classical site. Very useful for me, as I wrote this One month and 26 days ago, when this box set was approximately 29 pounds. I ordered this set 17th May 2014 and it arrived 22nd May, costing 29 pounds 49 cents. Yet as I was about to place this online, this box set went up to 90 pounds, then no new Mengelberg reviews were allowed on line for a few months. The price came down to what I originally paid for it. Then on the 11th July, when offically you can now start reviewing this product, the box set suddenly went up to to 34 pounds, and now 54 pounds. Yet like before, the box set will go up to 90 pounds. If you are interested in this box set, please ask Amazon to charge the original price 29 pounds. They will. They say they charge the lowest price. After all, Amazon is in business to sell products and this set has had a very odd career. Cheers T. Now for the REVIEW.

Mengelberg attached huge importance to what he considered a link between Beethoven and himself. For through his studies in conducting, theory and composition in Cologne under Franz Wullner, a friend of Anton Schindler who in turn had been a friend, secretary, biographer and pupil of Beethoven himself, he felt that there was a oral tradition passed down to him. At times the conductor does get near to Beethoven's metronome markings with his swift tempi. Well, Mengelberg is not boring.

Also, from 1902 when Mahler met Mahler they had an enduring friendship that lasted until the composers death in 1911. Mahler had mentioned to his wife Alma, that Mengelberg was the only conductor he felt he could trust his work to with total confidence. Mahler's conducting has been said to be have the warmth of Walter and the swiftness of Toscanini. Thus, in the Mahler 4th in this box set, you may get some idea as to how the composer sounded when he conducted. Mengelberg spent his entire life promoting Mahler's symphonies. Hans Richter, the conductor of the Premiere of the Ring Cycle at Bayreuth in 1876, was very impressed with Mengelberg's Concertgebouw orchestra when he guest conducted it. Richard Strauss dedicated his tone poem Ein Heldenleben, to Mengelberg because he admired his conducting. So there is a lot of history in this set.

Mengelberg conducted the Concertgebouw for 50 years 1895-1945, and he was able to change their style to the composer he was conducting. For example, from Bach to Stravinsky. But to this conductor rhythmic precision was everything, and he asked the orchestra to play on his beat. He left all tradition behind, with his impassioned performances. He was virtually indifferent to the metronome marking accept where Beethoven's symphonies were concerned. Mengelberg's interpretations were full of alterations, tempo fluctuations and various liberties and tampering. The power and drive of the orchestra, knocked the socks off composers like R.Strauss. In the Beethoven 3rd Symphony, NBC Orchestra conducted Toscanini (1949), here are the Movements times. 1st Mov: 13.47. 2nd Mov: 14.34. 3rd Mov: 5.12. 4th Mov 11.11. But Mengelberg in the same symphony, 1940. Ist Mov: 14.12. 2nd Mov: 15.47. 3rd Mov: 3.56. 4th Mov: 10.56. In the 3rd and 4th Movements Mengelberg tempi is quicker than Toscanini and he was very swift.

The St Matthew Passion is a legend amongest Mengelberg fans. The Bartok Violin concerto No 2 is the premiere of the piece, but the recording is taken from the radio and the sound could be better. The Schubert No 9, Mengelberg seems to glide into the swift movements, whereas Furtwangler in the 1944 live recording, simply gets faster and faster and seems to fly. Both conductors had distinctive styles.(see my review Furtwangler Legacy.) These recordings from 1939-1941 are live and at times you can hear the audience. Also, between movements, is the tap of Mengelbergs baton against the wooden rail, to notify the orchestra to begin the next movement. The Beethoven 9th is swift, like the 1942 live version conducted by Furtwangler.

As to the sound, there is some hiss. It all depends on if you are an experienced collector of old recordings. If you only collect Stereo and Digital, and not old Mono, this set may come as a surprise. I have been collecting singers of the past from 1901 upwards for years, and the sound is varied. For example, the Claudio Muzio, complete HMV 1911 and Edison 1920-25 recordings, remastered by Ward Marston, allows for the clicks and hiss. It is the best he can do. And he is a legend amongest those who collect old recordings. So for me, the only problem I have with this box set is with the Bartok violin concerto. Another tip, when listening to these old recordings use earphones; the best you can afford. I use a Sennheiser HDR 170.

The 15 CD box is made of tough Cardboard and opens sideways, where you can place the CDs you want to play. The back has black lettering on a creamy white background. The composers and music to be played, and soloists. The Sleeves creamy white front, has the Concertgebouw Recordings, Mengelberg in big lettering. The composer, music to be played and soloists with CD number at the top. The back, same colour, with CD number, composer, track numbers and movements. CD has it's number, Composer, music to be played. You cannot get lost. Sound ADD. The booklet has Composer, music to be played, track numbers etc. Then an essay "the Art of Willem Mengelberg" by Massimo Zegna, also in Italian. I hope this reviews helps you make up your mind whether you want to buy this set. I like it.
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23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential listening, 16 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Concertgebouw Recordings (Audio CD)
Mengelberg is one of the great conductors of the past.
As with Furtwängler and others (though not Karajan), his idiosyncratic readings could not be replicated today.
It's a kind of a paradox, but in a time when orchestral ensembles give us technical playing old time maestros could only dream of, many of our era performances just tend to sound alike.
That's why boxes like this one should find a place in every self respectable collection. Grab it because it will soon disappear.
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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars already reviewed, 20 April 2014
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This review is from: The Concertgebouw Recordings (Audio CD)
I was very happy with this cd set it met with my expectations and will enjoy it again and again
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The Concertgebouw Recordings by Willem Mengelberg (Audio CD - 2014)
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