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on 28 October 2014
One of the classic recordings. Wonderfully expressive and beautifully recorded
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on 3 August 2017
Daniel is a great pianist well worth the money.
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on 22 August 2014
Beautiful set of recordings beautifully played. Excellent.
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on 16 October 2003
Barenboim's set in DG of Beethoven's piano sonatas is a treasurable one. Listening to these recordings is always a rewarding experience for me. Barenboim not only achieves the utmost beauty with the late sonatas, his gaze is also particularly intense and emotive in the mid-period sonatas, which is filled with quite enjoyable details. Barenboim's caressing expressivity, wisdom for the choices of tempi and stunning insight in both the subtleties and the virtuosistic bars of Beethoven's music have established his reputation as one of the greatests pianists of our century. The "Arioso" in the Adagio of the 31th Sonata has never been heard so painful as in Barenboim's recording, the "Vivacissimamente" of the 26th has never been performed so strikingly bursting in joy before. And the "Arietta" of the 32th sonate is so emotive by Barenboim... He perfectly gives the meaning of "irreversibility of increased animation" which this score seems to suggest, besides its atemporal quality and beauty. In brief, this recording is strongly recommendable, not to be missed. Sets by Arrau, Gilels and Kempff are also quite interesting and enjoyable, but Barenboim is unbeatable here. His previous set in EMI, although also recommendable, is clearly surpassed by this one in DG, which undoubtely witnesses Barenboim's mastery of Beethoven's piano.
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on 1 September 2007
Being used to heavy weight renditions of Beethoven Sonatas by Russian masters like Richter, Gilels, Vedernikov, Neuhaus, at first listening I had an impression that Barenboim's Beethoven is a little too light-weight, especially earlier sonatas, but after repeated listening I was quite taken by the noble beauty and delicacy of his playing. Waldstein, Moonlight & Pathetique Sonatas are exceptionally well played with refinement and inspiration.

Only thing I can not stand in this set is Appassionata Sonata played like Chopin Nocturne, which made me nearly fall asleep! I like unpredictable and uncompromising Beethoven played with extreme contrasts by Richter and Gilels, but Barenboim's interpretation was a revelation and quite refreshing experience to listen to this set.
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on 18 November 2016
Absolutely fabuluzz. Never mind reviewers with all fingers and no ears.
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2013
A must have purchase for any serious fan of Beethoven's piano sonatas. This is arguably one of the most definitive interpretations of the music ever.
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on 17 July 2016
CDs as described & arrived sooner than scheduled.
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on 22 October 2016
What is the collective noun of sausages? On this matter, the memoirs of Abe Froman, late of Chicago, are silent. ‘Packet’ is too prosaic. ‘Pride’ is a misnomer. ‘String’ refers to a structural arrangement – nothing more. Resolution is required: sooner or later a retrospect of Danny Barenboim and his wares will be required. Without such a term at hand, how can anyone pen it?

All things converge. Five Star Generalissimo John Kwok clamours to be heard at this point (on Amazon.com). Ever one to slurp down a snag, he writes:

“I find Barenboim's playing rich in elegant technique (BO’H: ???) and warmth. Unlike Brendel (BO’H: to whom he also awards 5 stars), (Barenboim) views Beethoven with a deep emotional richness that is quite apparent throughout the entire sonata cycle. Barenboim shows that he is as comfortable playing Beethoven's early sonatas such as the Pathetique as he is with the later, more complex works like the Hammerklavier. Only (BO’H – a brave word, John!) Claudio Arrau and Wilhelm Kempff surpass Barenboim's combination of superb technique coupled with warm, passionate performances. Yet Barenboim's Deutsche Grammophon Beethoven sonata cycle is available at a far lower price than either Arrau's or Kempff's.”

Mmmmh. In its own way, this is a treasure-trove. Note the multiple references to ‘warmth’ and ‘technique’ in so short a space – “Gobble, gobble, gobble!” as the turkey says. As a corrective, read the review penned by Jurgen Lawrenz – a man who knows his stuff.

I have acquired this DG survey twice, the latter of which is still resident in my vault. It’s a shelf-clogger. DB’s career ignited on the basis of his late Sixties Beethoven and Mozart cycles on EMI which, in retrospect, were just as sausage-like as the endeavour here. Even so, they reeked of newness at the time. They’ve not weathered well. Come the mid-Eighties, the game was up. With the smell of sausages in the air, even the triumvirate of the Penguin Guide were faint in their praise of this DG cycle. In my revisitation of it, I pressure-tested four key junctures:

The messianic moment in the finale of the Waldstein (here at 8’03”ff)
The Vesuvius-like outburst in the first movement of the Tempest (here at 5’21”ff).
The finale of Op. 101.
The A Flat Major Sonata Op. 110 in its entirety.

Result: as ever, the Sausage King is concert-grade but the Word eludes him. Some movements are slower than usual. The opposite is true of others. It matters not. High proficiency is no entry into the Burning Fiery Furnace. On paper, I should be responsive to a Brucknerian approach to the finale of the Waldstein. I ain’t. It’s the tyranny of the tarmac.

If you seek immolation in this realm, I recommend Arrau, Gilels, Kempff (either cycle) or Backhaus on Decca, supplemented by the latter’s ‘end of days’ concert from April 1969 (offered by the Audite label) - in extremis indeed.
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VINE VOICEon 31 August 2016
Had this on a loop on my phone for over a year! There's just a few irritating seconds where the stereo balance suddenly goes jarringly mono then back to stereo.
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