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Beethoven Symphonies - Page 63

post #931 of 944
Originally Posted by Markhead View Post
I have a question for you Beethoven aficionados.

If you were only able to keep TWO box sets (or almost complete set) of the Beethoven symphonies from your collection, whose performances would you keep? What makes them special?

p.s. If you really don't need two, then what is "the one"
I'll go with David Zinman's and Gardiner's.
post #932 of 944
I recently picked up an LP of Christopher Hogwood and the AAM performing the 1st & 2nd - marvelous stuff! Somehow more vital and less overblown than a lot of full orchestra recordings - I am looking for more.
post #933 of 944
I didn't have the courage to go through the entire 63 pages here, but my question is:
what recordings should I hear if I already have all these?

-cycles: Vanska, Zinman, Karajan ('63 & '77), Bohm, Bernstein (both), Gardiner, Kegel, Edlinger, Krips, Leibowitz.

-individual performances:
1 -Wordsworth/RPO
2 -Lockhart/RPO, Monteux/LSO
3 -Abbado/BPO, Szell, Norrington/LCP, Jarvi/DKB, Furtwangler/VPO '44, Halasz, Herbig/RPO, Scherchen, Dohnanyi
4 -Haitink/LSO, Abbado/BPO, Wordsworth/RPO, Monteux/LSO
5 -Kleiber/VPO, Norrington, Furtwangler/BPO '43, Monteux/LSO, Salonen/LAPO
6 - (only the ones with complete cycles)
7 -Kleiber/VPO, Furtwangler/BPO '43, Wordsworth/RPO, Monteux/LSO,
8 -Szell, Jarvi, Lockhart/RPO
9 -Furtwangler/BPO '42, Szell, Solti, Mehta/NYPO, Leppard/RPO, Fricsay
post #934 of 944
I only own two complete sets:
Karajan 1977 recordings (DG), which I like better than his 1962 set, because of the faster tempi.
The Zinman set (Arte Nova). I love these recordings, 'no-nonsense' (no 'hinein interpretieren') and crystal clear playing.

Some recordings I love:
Beethoven 3 - Jordi Savall (Auvidis Astree), the most intense and exiting performance I ever heard, the playing is pretty rough and scratchy (which I love) and tempi are blazingly fast...I adore this recording.
Beethoven 9 - Philippe Herreweghe. The ideal performance of the 1st part, tempi and rhythmic phrasing in this part is superb.
Beethoven 5 and 6 - Antal Dorati (Mercury Living Presence) Incredibly no-nonsense and rhythmic for a 60's recording.
post #935 of 944
You have a very impressive collection of sets, and you include my favorite: the Leibowitz. One newer set that I've been enjoying a huge amount lately is on Hyperion with Charles Mackerras. Looks like you have all the older "big band" versions covered pretty well.
post #936 of 944
I second mbhaub's recommendation of the Mackerras cycle. In addition to the high quality of the playing itself, it also benefits from exceptional sound quality.
post #937 of 944
thanks. I'll look into the Mackerras and Dorati, those sound most interesting.

I've heard 3,4, and 5 of the Barenboim and really hated 3 & 4, so the rest of the cycle is out of the question, unless someone recommends individual performances that are great.

I really LOVE the Abbado/BPO (that would be the 2000 cycle, not the later one) 3 & 4 but I hear those are the only ones in the set that aren't duds, I'm really curious for the rest.

my references are:
1 - Bernstein/VPO
2 - Bernstein/NYPO
3 - Furtwangler/VPO '44 or Szell
4 - Monteux/LSO or Haitink/LSO
5 - Kleiber and Furtwangler/BPO '43
6 - Zinman
7 - Kleiber or Bernstein/VPO
8 - Karajan '77 or Szell
9 - Furtwangler/BPO '42
post #938 of 944
Yes, the Mackerras cycle with Hyperion is something else. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra is probably one of the most under-rated ensembles in the UK. I've had the privilege of hearing them perform the Eroica about two years ago in the UK and it was a truly amazing performance, definitely one of the best 3rds I've heard live.
post #939 of 944
Thread Starter 
post #940 of 944

That's certainly bad news. What a great musician he was. Mackerras gave us so many fine recordings, and some of them (maybe quite a few) are the best ever. His Scheherazade on Telarc, Dvorak's Rusalka, the Janacek orchestral music -- he's just superb. England has lost so many of its top conducting talent lately: Handley, Hickox, Downes...now Mackerras. I'm glad he left us as much as he did.

post #941 of 944

Awww man! This certainly blows. My favorite recording of Mozart's Requiem was conducted by Sir Charles Mackerras. I have certainly enjoyed a great deal of his recordings aside from Mozart's Requiem.  Sad.


He will be missed.



post #942 of 944

I have the hybrid SACD set with Osmo Vanska & The Minnesota Orchestra on BIS.  It's a great sounding cycle and I really recommend it if you are looking for high res.

post #943 of 944

I've been listenening the the Cluytens; it's a wonderful performance and, as DarkAngel says, very good sound.  But please listen to the opening bars of the 5th on your headphones and let me know what you hear in the right channel.  I can't decide whether this is 1) the sound of bowing; 2) distortion in the headphone from too strong a signal; or 3) distortion in the amplifier from too strong a signal.  I have vintage Sennheisers (HD 530) that are wonderful for chamber music -- warm with perfect tone; but perhaps they're not up to handling the blast with full control.  On the other hand, I also have the Gardiner DG modern/ period instrument set, and I don't hear anything similar in that channel, just the notes as I expect them.  The Carlos Kleiber performance is somewhere in between.  But this could be more a matter of mike placement than of the headphone, if the older recording put the right mike very close to the strings.  On the other hand, if those bars sound great on your headphones, then I'll know this is a limit of my rig. 


PS: I just tried the Cluytens recording on my low-budget rig: a Sony boombox, connected to a Sennheiser Lucas surround sound amp, connected to a Sennhseisr HD 448.  It sounds much better!  (That would definitely not be true with a quartet; my HD 530s would sound much better -- midrange and midvolume are their glories.)  I can't tell whether this strange improvement is paradoxically the result of a lower bit rate not hearing a distracting sound, if not a flaw, on the original, or whether my HD 530 breaks up under that kind of pressure. 

Edited by wyki - 10/21/10 at 7:29pm
post #944 of 944
Originally Posted by Horio View Post

I have the hybrid SACD set with Osmo Vanska & The Minnesota Orchestra on BIS.  It's a great sounding cycle and I really recommend it if you are looking for high res.

I have heard all of this set, and I own 3/8/9. I'm not happy with the sound or the performances. The sound has little or no presence at very soft points (such as the start of 9). Once the volume picks up, it tends to be an  undifferentiated mass, with no spatial localization among the instruments. This is true in multichannel SACD and CD playback--even over headphones, things weren't exactly clear. As for the performances, the orchestra has tight ensemble and they are fine musicians, but the interpretation is soulless. I much prefer Zinman's very lowprice set on Arte Nova with the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra among the recent modern-instrument readings. From that set, I get the feeling of human beings involved in the music--and the playing is just as good as the Vanska set.

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