22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
A Superb Bargain,
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This review is from: Beethoven - Complete Edition (85CD + CD ROM) (Audio CD)I have a large collection of Beethoven recordings and did not really need yet another set of the symphonies, the piano sonatas, piano concertos, violin sonatas, cello sonatas, string quartets, etc. I therefore bought this very reasonably priced complete edition to be able to hear all the works, and there are many of them, that are virtually unknown, whether these are orchestral, choral and chamber works of some size or things like the pieces for musical clock, minuets and many other sets of dances, sonatinas for mandolin (yes, mandolin!), a large number of works for wind instruments, an early piano concerto, many sets of variations and other things for piano, works for organ, folk song arrangements: all of those works without opus number that outnumber those with one! Truly a complete picture of Beethoven, who was not always on the mountain tops but often busily writing pieces just to earn a living.
What then of the music that is so well known? Does this edition do justice to the works that display Beethoven's unique and all embracing genius? It most certainly does. There is Herbert Blomstedt's superb set of the symphonies with the Staatskappele, Dresden. Then there is Stanislaw Skrowaczewski's recordings of most of the overtures with the Minnesota Orchestra - absolutely magnificent. Alfred Brendel's first set of the piano sonatas may not have all the insights that he was later to reveal in his distinguished career, but they are still well worth hearing. The performances by Arthur Grumiaux and Clara Haskill of the violin sonatas are surely as good as any in the catalogue and soon make you overlook that the recordings from the mid-fifties are not of the quality that we expect today. The cello sonatas are beautifully played by Heinrich Schiff and Till Fellner, as are the string quartets by the Sharon (op.18) and Guarneri Quartets. Sir Colin Davis may not scale the heights in the Missa Solemnis in the way that Klemperer or Jochum do, but it is a perfectly valid and acceptable view of this most difficult and challenging of Beethoven's works. Herbert Blomstedt returns for a fine account of Leonore, which makes one think that there was not very much wrong with the original version of Beethoven's only opera. Fidelio is in the hands of Christoph von Dohnanyi.
Taken as a whole, this edition is a superb bargain, particularly at Amazon's price, and it will give endless inspiration and pleasure, as well as providing a comprehensive view of the miracle that is Beethoven.