Author Topic: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?  (Read 40675 times)

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Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #160 on: November 13, 2014, 08:32:38 PM »
My favourites so far are, in no particular order:

Leslie Howard/Hyperion
Yury Martynov/Zig-Zag
Pro Arte Antiqua Praha/OOP (apparently)
Norrington/LCP/Virgin
Dohnányi/Cleveland/Telarc

These are also the only ones I have. >.>

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #161 on: November 13, 2014, 11:20:28 PM »
Then I'm keen to hear some more of YOUR thoughts on some cycles!

Here are a few that I'm particularly keen about right now (alphabetical by conductor) (not all-time favorites!):
- Abbado/BPO "red box"
- Barenboim
- Chailly
- Cluytens

Barenboim and Chailly are basically opposites, with Cluytens and Abbado in the middle.

That set by Chailly gives me the heebie-jeebies. It's so unrelentingly fast and unsubtle that when I listened to it my brain went "What???".

I'm guessing that nobody involved in the recording – from the producer on down to the tea fetcher – had the nerve to pipe up and say to The Big Rick, "Excuse me, maestro, but don't you think your interpretations are a little on the, er, bludgeoning side of things?", or even "Aren't you afraid that you'll scare children with what you're doing to these symphonies?"

Admittedly, I've only heard the Chailly cycle once, but man oh man that's one sledgehammer set of the Beethoven symphonies. Was Riccardo hellbent on making this the fastest version ever recorded? ("I'll show them! I'll show them all! Mwuhahahaha!" etc.)

I think I need to listen to that cycle again sometime. The first time went by so fast that when it finished I said to myself, "Is that it?" I'm sure there are things in there that are worth mentioning, but I couldn't keep up with it to find out.

Jeffrey, the violin concerto you're soon to hear is one of two Beethoven violin concerto recordings I enjoy hearing. (Isabelle Faust)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 02:57:15 AM by Peter Power Pop »

Offline Jay F

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #162 on: November 14, 2014, 08:36:19 AM »


I am absolutely in love with this right now; the remastered 1977 set.  The vinyl was the first complete set I ever owned, and it has always stayed with me.
The sound of these blazing performances has never been better.  The 4th movement of the 7th symphony knocked my socks off today.

My favorite, too, though I've not heard the remastered versions. I bought them individually as they were released in the 1980s on DG Galleria. Here's a clickable link to the remasters:

.

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #163 on: November 14, 2014, 09:01:12 AM »
Was Riccardo hellbent on making this the fastest version ever recorded? ("I'll show them! I'll show them all! Mwuhahahaha!" etc.)

Not even close! Dausgaard's Eroica clocks like this:
15:47 (WITH repeat)
12:49
5:22
10:27
WHOA you're right Chailly IS faster!! By a whole 2 minutes overall! Guess I haven't heard his Eroica in a while.

Pro Arte Antiqua Praha/OOP (apparently)
The who and the what now? Never heard of this before.

Offline jfdrex

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #164 on: November 14, 2014, 01:39:19 PM »
Cycles I own:

Barenboim
Bernstein/ NYPO
Blomstedt
Cluytens
Jochum  (DG)
Jochum  (EMI)
Klemperer
Krips
Schuricht
Szell
Weller


Plus, cycles I've listened to at one time or another:

Karajan 1963
Karajan 1977
Kletzki
Konwitschny
Ormandy
Schmidt-Isserstedt
Toscanini
Walter (Columbia SO, with the NYPO 9th)
Wand

… And no doubt a few others I'm forgetting at the moment.  Not to mention, a gaziliion different recordings of individual symphonies, including many from the aforementioned sets.

Of those complete cycles that I own, the ones I find myself returning to most often these days are Cluytens and Schuricht.  Though of course I wouldn't want to be without Klemperer and Szell.  And, oddly enough, I appreciate Bernstein more now than I did when I was younger.

I really want to like the Barenbom set more than I do, but so far, it only works for me in fits and starts.

And finally... not a complete cycle, but I can't let this one go without at least a mention:


Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #165 on: November 14, 2014, 06:05:28 PM »
The who and the what now? Never heard of this before.

String quintet arrangements of the symphonies and overtures by CF Eberse (1770-1836). I don't know how many of these were recorded, but I have 3, 5, 6, 7 & 8 and they're all good.

Here's the only one I could find on amazon



Chailly's tempi in the Eroica are about the equal of Norrington's (LCP), slightly faster in the finale. For whatever reason this is pretty much the speed that feels 'right' to me—any Eroica openers exceeding about 16' just seem way too slow. This has led to me dismissing many otherwise worthy Eroicas on the grounds of excessive lethargy. I guess I'll be investigating Chailly more thoroughly.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 06:14:25 PM by amw »

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #166 on: November 14, 2014, 09:15:56 PM »
Then I'm keen to hear some more of YOUR thoughts on some cycles!

I'm more than happy to let you know what I think of certain Beethoven symphony cycles, young Brian. You name it, I'll listen to it.

Here are a few that I'm particularly keen about right now (alphabetical by conductor) (not all-time favorites!):
- Abbado/BPO "red box"
- Barenboim
- Chailly
- Cluytens

I've commented on the Cluytens, and in this post I expressed my dismay at hearing the Chailly set (it bothered me enormously). But if there's anything in particular you want me hear, just say the word. If you're looking for rash and hasty ill-thought-out comments, I'm your man.

Barenboim and Chailly are basically opposites, with Cluytens and Abbado in the middle.

Jeffrey, the violin concerto you're soon to hear is one of two Beethoven violin concerto recordings I enjoy hearing. (Isabelle Faust)
« Last Edit: November 14, 2014, 09:18:20 PM by Peter Power Pop »

Offline André

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #167 on: November 18, 2014, 06:26:20 PM »
I'm anything but a homer, believe me. Yet, I was immensely surprised at finding the Montreal Symphony - Nagano set (ATMA label) so close to greatness. As close to HIP as possible with a full-fledged symphony orchestra. I guess this is along the Vänskä - Minnesota lines (I heard a couple only of those discs). But, dare I say, it's better executed  :D.

Offline Johnnie Burgess

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #168 on: March 07, 2018, 04:58:31 PM »
My favorite recent cycle remains Osmo Vänskä. Precision and passion produces riveting results.



As someone who grew up on period instrument performances, I wish I liked the Immerseel set more, but it just doesn't catch fire.

After seeing a couple other people recommend this, I had to buy this set.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #169 on: March 07, 2018, 06:26:41 PM »
I'm anything but a homer, believe me. Yet, I was immensely surprised at finding the Montreal Symphony - Nagano set (ATMA label) so close to greatness. As close to HIP as possible with a full-fledged symphony orchestra. I guess this is along the Vänskä - Minnesota lines (I heard a couple only of those discs). But, dare I say, it's better executed  :D.

André, isn't that set on Analekta?  On ATMA, I find just the 7th, performed in the wind-only version. Merely curious... :)

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Offline André

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #170 on: March 07, 2018, 08:11:51 PM »
Yes, it’s Analekta ! I often confuse the two labels  ::).

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #171 on: March 07, 2018, 08:43:34 PM »
Out of all the ones I’ve heard, I’d probably say HvK’s 60s cycle. For me, it simply doesn’t get any better. A runner-up to this cycle would be Szell/Cleveland.
“I really would like to go to Marmorkirken. It was there that I heard music for the first time, and that experience is like a heavenly vision for me.” - Rued Langgaard

Offline CB45

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #172 on: March 08, 2018, 10:48:41 AM »
My favourite cycles are the Klemperer Philharmonia (UK Columbia - who did the cycle proud with dignified and distinct LP cover art work) and the Cluytens Berlin set.  I also enjoy listening to Peter Maag (an under-rated conductor). 
For individual movements:
1. the opening movement of the 4th as realized by Barbirolli and the NYPO (1936) - the introduction has an atmosphere more rivetting than any other I know.
2. the finale of the 5th by Furtwangler with the Berlin PO in June 1943.  An extraordinary occasion.
CB

Offline Turner

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #173 on: March 08, 2018, 11:01:00 AM »
Trying to own a lot of variety,
I've got
Mengelberg,
Toscanini,
Scherchen/Lugano,
Scherchen/Westminster (symphonies 1-8 only)
Bernstein/NYPO,
Karajan/DG 1+2,
Blomstedt,
Leibowitz,
Skrowaczewski,
Gardiner.

I've skipped Karajan/EMI, Konwitschny, Bernstein/VPO.

Until I got Skrowaczewski I would probably lean towards Karajan/DG 1, but it might be Skrowy now. Not sure, though.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 11:53:46 PM by Turner »

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #174 on: March 08, 2018, 11:03:04 AM »
My favourite cycles are the Klemperer Philharmonia (UK Columbia - who did the cycle proud with dignified and distinct LP cover art work) and the Cluytens Berlin set.  I also enjoy listening to Peter Maag (an under-rated conductor). 
For individual movements:
1. the opening movement of the 4th as realized by Barbirolli and the NYPO (1936) - the introduction has an atmosphere more rivetting than any other I know.
2. the finale of the 5th by Furtwangler with the Berlin PO in June 1943.  An extraordinary occasion.
CB

As far as you're concerned, the last 50 years were a wash?

Offline Florestan

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #175 on: March 08, 2018, 11:36:15 AM »


Old school, no-nonsense, solid performances in surprisingly very good sound. Konwhisky at his best.
The golden mean, the truth, is no longer recognized or valued. To win applause one must write stuff so simple that a coachman might sing it, or so incomprehensible that it pleases simply because no sensible man can comprehend it. - Mozart

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #176 on: March 08, 2018, 04:25:53 PM »
At some point in the last four years my #1 choice for a complete cycle shifted to Krivine/Chambre Philharmonique. And I think I may even prefer Norrington's Stuttgart cycle to his LCP one now.

From the "classic" cycles: Leibowitz/RPO.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #177 on: March 08, 2018, 04:33:52 PM »
At some point in the last four years my #1 choice for a complete cycle shifted to Krivine/Chambre Philharmonique. And I think I may even prefer Norrington's Stuttgart cycle to his LCP one now.

From the "classic" cycles: Leibowitz/RPO.

Geez I thought I must have made this post. Haven't yet seen anyone aside from myself make claims such as this.....

And the Leibowitz is great, yes.



I am tempted to do a comparison of recordings and post reviews here or something like then when I have time.........

Although I will say now that my preferences go to Chailly and Zinman.

My least favourites would probably be Thielemann and the last three of Karajan.

One I truly truly wish was a little bit more interesting to me with regards to the treatment of tempo and its relationship to structure and phrasing is Gardiner.

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #178 on: March 10, 2018, 03:41:53 AM »
I've considered similar, but even less time.

My ratings of cycles I've heard in full so far are:

Bernstein NY C
Blomstedt Dresden C+
Brüggen Philips B-
Chailly A
Dohnányi A-
Gardiner B+
Herreweghe A
Hogwood A-
Järvi B
Karajan 1963 C
Krivine A+
Leibowitz A+
Norrington LCP A-
Norrington Stuttgart A+

I am evidently somewhat indiscriminate in my taste -.-

Cycles I want to hear in their entirety someday, but whatever, no pressure: Vänskä, Zinman, Jochum LPO, Toscanini (1936?), Blomstedt Leipzig, Harnoncourt, Kletzki, Cluytens, Mackerras, Immerseel, Ormandy, Szell

Cycles I am fine without hearing ever: any other Karajans, the DG Bernstein, Thielemann, Barenboims, Böhm, Maazel, etc

Offline CB45

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #179 on: March 11, 2018, 10:23:34 AM »
As far as you're concerned, the last 50 years were a wash?

If I understand 'wash' correctly (as wash out), the answer is clearly 'no'.  I've enjoyed several cycles, e.g., Zinman and Vanska (although I've not heard the CDs, we were fortunate enough in the UK to hear his thoughts in a cycle with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra which was broadcast by the BBC).  I simply pointed to a few cycles that I find bear repeated listening and to a couple of extraordinary individual performances.  Trying to help us all along!