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Beethoven / Arr Liszt : Symphonies Nos 1 - 9 Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

Price: £17.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£17.05 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £20. Details Only 4 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

  • Audio CD (27 Oct. 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: CLASSICAL
  • ASIN: B0000D8HDF
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 30,967 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
As one of those people who feels that large symphonic works sound
unrealistic and even overblown in my living room - I therefore have become
a bit of an addict of solo pieces and small ensembles - one of the biggest
bugbears of my life is how so many of the best tunes were saved up for the
grandiose works, their charms rather lost for me.
The answer of course is transcriptions and these Beethoven symphonies are
quite magical examples, better for my money than the Liszt-focused Leslie
Howard set on Hyperion because Katsaris concentrates on bringing out the
Beethovem as he explains in the sleeve notes, often finding very innovative
ways to go beyond the Liszt and capture the real feel of the originals. This
is especially true of his 6th and 9th symphonies, which are simply stunning
and will show any listener detail that you simply cannot capture when some
big show-off conductor is exercising his powers over a tame orchestra.
There are 5 CDs in this reasonably priced reissue set, all originally
released as full price separates, only intermittently available over the
last couple of years, sometimes fetching big money on eBay. Now you can have
them for next to nothing and get a whole new slant on some of the greatest
musical works ever written.
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Format: Audio CD
This is an astonishing piece of work. Simply astonishing. I will have to think hard to come up with some text to explain myself.
From the moment I began to play Symphony no 6 (my favourite anyway) I realised that this is one of those rare works which will take me years to fathom, if I ever manage to all.
None of the passion or depth of the full orchestral works has been lost, and the sheer technical difficulty and the absolute command Cyprien Katsaris shows, hold you from the start and for 6 hours takes your breath away. In fact, the way he gives himself over and into to the music adds to the emotion of the original (if that is even possible).
The first time I listened to the 5th movement Symphony No 6 I could hardly bear the tension of waiting to see how Katsaris would handle the way Beethoven passes the theme down the orchestra, and the first time you hear it, it is an awesome experience. I know Liszt was behind the transcription, but Katsaris manages to instill in the listener both anxiety (because you can't see how he could ever manage to do the music justice) and awe (when you see that he manages to do just that). I am no professional, just an enthusoiastic amateur, but if ever I had to say something was technically brilliant - then Cyprien Katsaris' performance would be it.
Very strangely, I also felt a certain degree of sadness, not because of the music, but because now I have heard how good a pianist it is possible to be, I realise that I'm never ever going to be anywhere near that good. :-(
You don't ask questions about 6 hours of something of this quality. Just buy it - if you are a budding pianist it might just inspire you and change your life. If you are not, then it probably will anyway.
I will be exploring this CD set for the rest of my days.
Comment 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
A while back I impetuously started trying to play Beethoven's 6th symphony on the piano, as it's my favourite. Like another reviewer I soon realised these transcriptions were very difficult, virtuosic pieces. Interestingly, Beethoven started a piano transcription for his 6th but didn't finish it, perhaps distracted by bigger things. Maybe he thought it would sound good on the piano.

Some would say that the symphonies sound better how they were written out to be performed, this is probably true but I think they sound excellent played on the piano. One would never have thought that they could be done justice on only one instrument, and this is perhaps true, especially for the Choral Symphony, but you'd be pleasantly surprised I hope. I am a piano nut so I suppose I'm biased!

I discovered Katsaris on youtube. Stunned, I sought out his complete cycle. There is much to recommend this cycle. Right from the start of the 1st symphony Katsaris has you gripped by his superlative playing. Ultimately he has to work harder and represent the instruments of an entire orchestra. I have had this recording for a week and I can't stop listening to it. Of course there are the elevated Gould recordings, but you will not be disappointed by this recording for its high emotional impact. I think Katsaris is the great interpreter of these transcriptions. His playing is enchanting and mystical. The piano he plays on also sounds top quality.

Katsaris got to the heart of these pieces by apparently trying to bring out the Beethoven rather than the Liszt, which I am sure, is what Liszt, a great admirer of Beethoven and these masterworks, would have wanted. As the Dover music edition put it, this is "A moving musical tribute from one great artist to another". I do not hesitate giving a full 5 stars. Packaging is also good. This is a recording to treasure.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Liszt's transcriptions of Beethoven's symphonies for solo piano are among the most demanding ever made. They form as a whole the most profound exploration of these great works - arguably the greatest cycle of all - ever undertaken. In transposing these works for full orchestra and, in the 9th, for orchestra, chorus and soloists, Liszt shows the deepest respect for Beethoven's scores whilst, at the same time, creating compositions that can be enjoyed in their own right without continual reference back to the originals.

These transcriptions, of course, are technically very difficult but, as well as virtuosity, require great musicality and interpretive insight. Christian Katsaris satisfies in both these respects and the result is an enormously successful and rewarding group of recordings. His approach combines lyricism, drive, drama and excitement with a profound understanding of, and respect for, the basic structure of these works. His virtuosity is never displayed for its own sake but is always the servant of Beethoven's intentions - as transmitted, of course, through Liszt's reworking of the originals.

The digital recordings from the late 1980's still sound excellent and the notes are both interesting and informative.

An extremely valuable issue which can be recommended without reservation.
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