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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies Box set

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Herbert von Karajan
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (23 Oct. 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001GBQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 116,891 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No.1 in C major, Op. 21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  2. Symphony No.1 in C major, Op. 21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  3. Symphony No.1 in C major, Op. 21: 3. Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  4. Symphony No.1 in C major, Op. 21: 4. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  5. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op.55 Eroica: 1. Allegro con brio - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  6. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op.55 Eroica: 2. Marcia funebre. Adagio assai - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  7. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op.55 Eroica: 3. Scherzo. Allegro vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  8. Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, op.55 Eroica: 4. Finale. Allegro molto - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven

Disc: 2

  1. Symphonie No. 2 D-dur Op.36: I. Adagio Molto - Allegro Con Brio - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  2. Symphonie No. 2 D-dur Op.36: Larghetto - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  3. Symphonie No. 2 D-dur Op.36: Menuet & Trio: Allegro Molto E Vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  4. Symphonie No. 2 D-dur Op.36: Adagio - Allegro Molto E Vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  5. Symphonie No. 4 B-dur Op. 60: I. Adagio - Allegro Vivace - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  6. Symphonie No. 4 B-dur Op. 60: Adagio - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  7. Symphonie No. 4 B-dur Op. 60: Allegro Vivace: Un Poco Meno Allegro - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  8. Symphonie No. 4 B-dur Op. 60: Allegro Ma Non Troppo - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven

Disc: 3

  1. Symphonie No. 5: 1. Allegro Con Brio - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  2. Symphonie No. 5: 2. Andante Con Moto - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  3. Symphonie No. 5: 3. Allegro - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  4. Symphonie No. 5: 4. Allegro - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  5. Symphonie No. 6: 1. Erwachen Heiterer Empfindungen Bei Der Ankunft Auf Dem Lande (Allegro Ma Non Tro - L.V. Beethoven
  6. Symphonie No. 6: 2. Szene Am Bach (Andante Molto Mosso) - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  7. Symphonie No. 6: 3. Lustiges Zusammensein Der Landleute (Allegro) - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  8. Symphonie No. 6: 4. Gewitter - Sturm (Allegro) - L.V. Beethoven - L.V. Beethoven
  9. Symphonie No. 6: 5. Hirtengesang, Frohe Und Dankbare Gef Hle Nach Dem Sturm (Allegretto) - L.V. Beet - L.V. Beethoven

Disc: 4

  1. Symphony 7: 1 Poco Sostenuto - Vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  2. Symphony 7: 2 Allegretto - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  3. Symphony 7: 3 Presto - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  4. Symphony 7: 4 Allegro Con Brio - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  5. Symphony 8: 1 Allegro Vivace I Con Brio - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  6. Symphony 8: 2 Allegretto Scherzando - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  7. Symphony 8: 3 Tempo Di Menuetto - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  8. Symphony 8: 4 Allegro Vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven

Disc: 5

  1. Symphony No. 9: Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  2. Symphony No. 9: Molto vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  3. Symphony No. 9: Adagio molto e cantabile - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  4. Symphony No. 9: Presto - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven
  5. Symphony No. 9: Presto. - - Ludwig Van Beethoven - Ludwig Van Beethoven

Product Description

Product Description

The classic recording of the nine Beethoven Symphonies - Karajan's 1960s effort - returns to the catalogue now on Eloquence at super-budget price. This set has already achieved Gold sales in Australia and the CDs will now be available not only as a boxed set but also separately.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Beethoven Symphonies 1 - 9. Berliner Philharmoniker and the Wiener Singverein. With Gundula Janowitz, Waldemar Kmentt, Hilde Rossel-Majden and Walter Berry. Conducted by Herbert von Karajan. Recorded 1962 to 1963. Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft.

This cycle is a classic. Taken as a whole it is very impressive, but I think in general Karajan made interpretations of more depth in his 1970s cycle. However, there is a ruggedness and vitality to these recordings that he didn't quite capture in the later cycle. I think this is more representative of Karajan's more ferocious conducting that characterised some of his earlier recordings (hence my title of the 'firebrand' years). The later priority is for seamless and beautiful playing which has its own reward.

Here is my own response to each interpretation:

No. 1: A beautifully polished and thoughtfully paced reading. Karajan does not rush this symphony. Indeed, this is perhaps one of the most concentrated performances on record of the First Symphony.

No. 2: Very good - quite homogenous playing.

No. 3: This version of the Eroica is one of the high-points of this celebrated cycle. It combines urbanity (in outstanding playing typical of the Berliners) with a good deal of ruggedness. The four movements never seem glossy or artificial and the playing is quite driven throughout. The second movement is played superbly, but perhaps a little less convincing and 'deep' than Karajan's even greater analogue recording from the seventies, which is even more powerful. Tempi are broad in this recording, whilst Karajan's later version is much faster.

No. 4: This is one of the highlights of the cycle, with exceptionally lush and atmospheric conducting. The sound is incredibly vivid on both LP and CD.
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Format: Audio CD
In this review I will try to compare various complete recordings of Beethoven's nine symphonies plus Carlos Kleiber's CD with Symphonies number 5 and 7 (on DG). Concerning Carlos Kleiber it is easily done: I will advice anybody who appreciates Beethoven (or who think they might appreciate Beethoven) to buy his CD. I doubt you can find better versions of those two works. When I mention Karajan in this review I refer only to his first complete set of Beethoven's symphonies for DG from 1963 with the Berliner Philharmoniker. The other complete sets I will write about are: Osmo Vanska and the Minnesota Orchestra (Bis), Jos van Immerseel and Anima Eterna (Zig Zag), David Zinman and Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Arte Nova), Herbert Blomstedt and Staatskapelle Dresden (Brilliant). All orchestras mentioned here perform on modern instruments except Immerseel's Anima Eterna.

I will go through the symphonies one by one and give short comments on the various recordings. I will start in reverse order since I guess most people will be interested in the late symphonies primarily.

Karajan plays a terrific and grand 9th ("Choral") - his wild gestures and colourful style fit the work well - he is a true romantic in the first romantic symphony in musical history. It is the only 9th I have heard in which all the movements really shine, for instance in Vanska's recording only the two last movements really work for me, but then again those two are amazing - you can hear every polyphonic detail in the choral finale. Immerseel gives us a good "slim" 9th (only 33 musicians in the orchestra which though is 9 more than in the other symphonies). Zinman's recording lacks verve and excitement in the two first movements, but his adagio is pretty and the finale is gripping.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
When this set first came out in early 60's, it must have been jaw-dropping! It's beautifully recorded and we'd probably never heard Beethoven like this before. But this is a two-edged sword; if only the interpretations were as good. Even allowing for the timing constraints of vinyl, the tempi are just too fast. It all sounds as if everybody had to be somewhere else. But get this one if you are going to get any of the Karajan sets.
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Good product, best seller.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x959218f4) out of 5 stars 142 reviews
189 of 196 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9577a354) out of 5 stars There are 3 versions of this 1963 set that differ in sound quality, price, and packaging. 20 May 2006
By J. West - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This 1963 recording has been remastered twice. (It's been "reissued" a zillion times but I think it's only been "remastered" 2 times.) The version you should get depends on the amount of money you want to spend and the level of sound fidelity you're looking for.

-- ASIN # B000001GBQ: this item you're looking at DG429036; the least expensive version (also same as import package ASIN # B000056OBA)

-- ASIN # B000001GZ4: 1997 remaster DG453701 (done as part of the special 87-disc 20-volume Beethoven Complete Edition). This version is about $25 more and also has a nice color book with history and photos. Used "Original-ImageBit-Processing" technology.

-- ASIN # B0000C03AH: 2003 remaster to SACD DG474600. This version at a hundred+ bucks is 4 times the cost of the basic set.

(And no doubt in the future there will be another remaster using another whizbang technology like "holographic projection" sound.)

I recommend the 1997 remaster (B000001GZ4). It has the best value combination of price and sound quality.
136 of 141 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9577a3a8) out of 5 stars Probably the best overall cycle available 19 Oct. 2000
By Christopher Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I agree with the Amazon reviewer that, of all Karajan's Beethoven traversals, this one is the best, and I also believe it serves as a great introduction to Beethoven's symphonies as a whole. Like any interpretation of such well-loved works, there will always be a few points of disagreement, but overall Karajan's vision prevails. And at this price, one can certainly afford to augment this collection here and there with another conductor's interpretation.
Every symphony here bears the trademark Van Karajan clarity and precision, but unlike his later recordings of Beethoven, there is also plenty of fire and passion. I really like the tempos he chooses for the fifth and the seventh (my favorite). Ever since I bought Karajan's 1963 interpretations of these two a number of years ago, I've never really liked any other conductor's treatment of the finales of these two symphonies, Karajan's seem that perfectly done to me. The first, second, fourth, and eighth are all excellent interpretations, and they will remind any listener that, although they are not considered among Beethoven's colossal achievements, perhaps they should be (especially the fourth). While he might have put a bit more bounce into the eighth, which is without doubt Beethoven's jauntiest symphony, I find that's just a minor quibble on my part.
With the third, sixth and ninth, you won't be disappointed by any means, since none of these interpretations is anything but excellent. But after you listen to them for a while and decide that these symphonies are essential to living a long and happy life, you might want to cast around for alternatives to complement Karajan. It's generally acknowledged that Karajan's 1977 recording of the ninth is his best, and that it is among the greatest interpretations of all time. It's also available on a single disk. For the third, Otto Klemperer, hands down. After Karajan heard Klemperer conduct the third in the 1950's, he visited Klemperer backstage to congratulate him and said that he hoped he would live long enough to one day conduct the slow movement of this symphony as well as Klemperer had done it. High praise indeed. For the sixth, either Karl Bohm or Klemperer again.
That said, I think any lover of Beethoven, or anyone just starting out on getting together a Beethoven collection, should have this set. And it's rare to find such a generous price attached to such a formidable collection.
117 of 126 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9577a7e0) out of 5 stars The best Beethoven symphony set out there so far 12 Dec. 2000
By Tina Morris - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Over his 35year tenure with the Berlin Philharmonic Herbert von Karajan recorded 4 complete Beethoven symphony cycles. This 1963 one is his masterpiece. Just as there are people who like either the even- or the odd-numbered symphonies better, this set will not please everybody in every single aspect, but it is as good as anybody can get on an artistic proposition of this format. The cycle conveys a very clear artistic vision. Probably better than anything else Karajan ever recorded it epitomizes the unique sound he was able to create with 'his' Philhramonic. This makes the cycle very homogenous, all symphonies have the same overall very high quality. In contrast to some of his very early Viennese recordings, his pace is quicker, and as always he creates a wonderful transparency of sound. My personal favorites are #7 and #9, the latter is done wonderfully both in terms of soloists and choir. An extremely moving experience. The sound quality of this '63 recording is very good, but with Deutsche Grammophon one is generally never disappointed in that regard anyway.
22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9577abac) out of 5 stars One of the best cycles out there - if not the best! 4 May 2007
By Mete Ibanoglu - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The 9 Symphonies play a great role in my life because of their sheer beauty and touching deepness. So I have obtained a lot of recordings of these pieces through the years, some of them on CD, some on casette, some on LP. And there are the concerts, of course. As a natural consequence, I have listened to a lot of different interpretations of these masterpieces. All interpretations (well not all but a great majority) have their moments but when I listen to Maestro Karajan's recordings of these, I always discover something that wasn't there the last time I heard. Karajan has always been critiqued for being too mechanical, too much in control but he always introduced something new to the music through his interpretation... The artistical point of the 1963 Karajan cycle has already been talked about a lot, I've got nothing more to say about it, I can only repeat that this cycle is perpahs the best cycle you will ever find. It is one of those works which become to be the yardstick for the later recordings to be compared with.

I was most pleasantly surprised to discover that the sound quality is phenomenal for a 1963 recording, it is better than more recent ADD records. The sound engineering is also very good, it is like having the full orchestra play for you in youor living room. The deep notes of the double basses go right through you while the violins tease your ears in a most pleasent way. So, the sound quality is just great.

I also would like to talk about the CD design, which is something very important for me. I know it is strange but I like to own CDs that have good design. Of course the included material is a lot more important but... Anyway, there are two CD cases with the first one including the first 6 symphonies on 3 CDs, and the other presenting the remaining three on 2 CDs, with the last CD contains the 9th. CDs have mirror surface with the classic DG logo and the contents are listed on the CD itself as well as the booklet. The booklet offers a good read on the 9 symphonies and the cycle presented with the set.

I hope you will enjoy the set as much as I do...
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9577ac90) out of 5 stars Very reqarding as a whole 12 Feb. 2003
By C Drummond - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is (with the probable exception of the Pastoral) an outstanding set of recordings. Karajan captures the fire within Beethoven's music and brings the phenomenal best out of the Berlin musicians. The reason that this set is treated with contempt by some 'well-informed' reviewers is that it comes as the benchmark in Beethoven performance. Some people have been familiar with these recordings for 40+ years and consequently when different performance styles came about, they were treated as a 'much needed breath of fresh air'. Well, of course they were to such people. However, this doesn't detract from the immediacy or brilliance of the music making in this set. In many ways this is the ideal introduction into Beethoven's symphonic canon, without the extremes or quirkiness of the 'period influenced' Harnoncourt or Gardiner. As has been mentioned, the sixth is a slight disappointment, overly rushed and lacking the spacious, joyful sigh of relief that is required in the final movement. Thus, a separate purchase of Bohm or Walter's recording of this work is to be recommended. However, with this set being as inexpensive as it is, this extra purchase scarcely makes it uneconomical.
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