These are live recordings made in early 2000 before enthusiastic audiences in the Santa Cecilia Academy Rome. They are vigorous, direct and rich in detail due to smaller string forces, giving a nod in the direction of period practice. Lighter and generally faster than earlier Abbado cycles but similar to the set he made for DGG in the late 90's. Slow movements flow nicely but there is plenty of pep elsewhere. The 9th was recorded the previous year at the Philharmonie in Berlin and has a good quartet of soloists led by Karita Matilda and Thomas Moser.The finale is very well balanced, and like the rest of the set has an added intensity which wasn't present in Abbado's earlier sets. The BPO are on top form with beautiful string tone and really lovely woodwind playing ; the Pastoral is gorgeous. Camera shots are generally well chosen with the added option of a 'conductor camera' to show the maestro from the musicians perspective. In all nearly seven hours of glorious music making,with both conductor and orchestra rising to the challenge and obviously enjoying it.