Beethoven: The Complete Symphonies and Piano Concertos Box set, Limited Edition, Original recording reissued
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Top Customer Reviews
This makes me wonder if they are at last going to make available for us , albeit on separate dics , what many record collectors and admirers of Otto Klemperer's genius in Beethoven have long realized - that the real Klemperer Cycle of the Nine Beethoven Symphonies consists of the performances in this set of the 1st , 2nd , 4th , 6th , 7th , 8th , and 9th Symphonies together with the earlier recordings of the 3rd and 5th . But surely you're not including that lumbering , leaden footed account of the 7th !! Ah , but that brings me to the reason I wanted to write a few words about this wonderful set.
Everyone else who has reviewed it has correctly referred to the problems of those later re-makes of 3 , 5 , and 7 without noticing that the performance of the 7th in this set is actually an experimental Stereo Recording of the 1955 seventh , not its lumbering re-make , and superb it sounds too ! EMI ran similar experimental Stereo sessions on their Karajan Rosenkavalier recording . Stereo is of course important in Klemperer's Beethoven given his correct antiphonal division of 1st and 2nd violins , and where better to hear them than in the Finale of Beethoven's 7th (Composers knew about Stereo before we did !!)
This set is an amazing bargain and its virtues and shortcomings are well known .Read more ›
So Klemperer was interested in allowing the musical structures to "speak for themselves" and would have said that his performances were based on his personal response to the interrelated tempi and key structures in the symphonies. Though they sound entirely different from each other, this was also Toscanini's agenda! So it is the "personal response", the thing that makes it, as Dr Otto once said, "...a real KLEMPERER performance..." that is really interesting in this set.Read more ›
Don't be put off by the fact these recordings are more than 50 years old. Digitally remastered, and presented in a box set with extensive booklet, the quality is as outstanding as the performances are precise. Sometimes described as slow or unkindly labeled as plodding, I can only see these for what they are...performances which are measured, precise and immaculately polished.
Similarly, the piano concertos (all of Beethoven's five concertos are included) are amongst the best you will find. The pianist on these 1968 recordings is a young Daniel Barenboim, and the orchestra is the same as that of the symphonies, although now performing under the newly adopted title (from 1964) the `New Philharmonia Orchestra'.
Again, the original recordings have been remastered to produce sparkling results.
If that wasn't enough, the `Coriolan', `Prometheus' and 3 `Leonore Overtures' are included, along with the `Gross Fugue' and `Fantasia for piano, chorus and orchestra'.
My criticisms are the lack of information on each CD sleeve - you need to consult the 52 page (20 in English) booklet to see the full track listing - which is typical of the EMI Classics series, and to omit the `Egmont Overture' is inexcusable. But perhaps I'm just asking too much...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you'd like listening to a high quality stereo recording (1955-68) of most of Beethoven's orchestral works, conducted by a real authority in the field, born in the same century... Read morePublished on 15 Nov. 2013 by B. O. Hansen
I purchased this some years ago - partly because I had the privilege of seeing a live performance of the 9th at the Royal Festival Hall. Read morePublished on 17 Sept. 2013 by music girl
Very pleased. I don't usually do these ratings, but after waiting for months to get this from America and having it fall through, we were delighted to find the CD collection... Read morePublished on 29 Mar. 2013 by Mrs. P. L. Hare
A great Klemperer collection at a bargain price. Perhaps not for those who must have the speed, sound and incessant sharp drum strokes of the 'historically informed'... Read morePublished on 17 Jan. 2012 by JAHH
This is spectacular, in my opinion: the sound quality is perfect, the conducting and playing rich and sumptuous and the overall value almost unbelievable. Read morePublished on 22 Sept. 2011 by Hilton Bennett
I grew up with the few Klemperer recordings of Beethoven symphonies that I could afford, on vinyl long since worn out. Read morePublished on 23 Dec. 2010 by Margaret Newton
I grew up on these recordings,as they were my mother's favorite versions, then I rejected them as too subjective, too romantic, too slow and turgid. Read morePublished on 10 July 2010 by LR
When I first started collecting records, Klemperer's Beethoven was THE way it should be done. He sold out concerts and this set is something definitive as a benchmark of the time. Read morePublished on 23 Nov. 2009 by Mr Swallow
For me, Otto Klemperer has been the definitive, heavy-weight Beethoven conductor in the past 50 years or more. Read morePublished on 24 Nov. 2006 by David C. Coleman
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