24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Very good value,
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This review is from: Beethoven: Complete Symphonies (Audio CD)
This is a striking bargain: a very well played Beethoven cycle by a leading conductor in very good sound, currently for less that £13 (or £10 is you download as I did). It has taken me a while to decide definitively what I actually think of these performances. Many parts of most symphonies are strikingly effective. But there is something missing. Again and again you are thinking "oh, this is really good!" only to be let down further along by a slackening of tension or momentum, an undesirable lingering, so that the overall impression is that each of these accounts lacks the coherence that you would expect in the very best Beethoven. This is not about slowness. Barenboim's approach is unfashionably slow but a desire for an old fashioned slow Beethoven set was behind my buying this set. Klemperer is slow (slower), Bohm's great 5th is slow, Guilini's great Eroica is slow ... but those performances never lost their tension and always retained a clear and coherent vision. Barenboim doesn't quite manage that in these accounts.
That said, there are good performances, filled with marvellous detail and imagination. Anyone who wants a traditionally slow Beethoven set could do a lot worse (and spend a lot more money) than buying this set.