Author Topic: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?  (Read 40674 times)

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Offline Octave

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #20 on: April 23, 2013, 02:43:12 AM »
I'm just too new at it all to have a favorite yet.  Let me say that I was really impressed by Peter Maag's cycle with the Orchestra di Padova e del Veneto (Arts Music), which I acquired ~2011 and revisited almost a year ago, and it still hovers over all the Beethoven symphonies I've listened to since then.  Not "better/over", necessarily, but...I'm sorry, I'd need to listen to it again to articulate it.  It just seemed like forceful but not "forced" musicmaking, if that makes any sense. 
I also very recently acquired the Dohnanyi/Cleveland that Cato just mentioned, in separate installments (pretty cheap through BRO); and it was incredibly powerful: a sun to Maag's moon.

Still, impossible for me to decide with so much of what I've ingested coming from just the past 1.5 years of listening.  Too much, too fast, too soon.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2013, 08:57:16 AM by Octave »
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Offline Todd

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #21 on: April 23, 2013, 04:35:01 AM »
Chailly if I want two channels, Toscanini '39 (M&A) if I want one.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Xenophanes

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2013, 05:27:20 PM »
I believe the first set of all 9 I ever had was Ansermet and the SRO. A lot of people like Ansermet's Ninth, but I find it rather low key. Some may find the Fifth to be rather low key, but I like it because the structures are very clear. The Third, Fourth, and Seventh are outstanding, and the Sixth is really quite nice. The Eroica is my favorite. You can now get them all on CD.

The most consistently fine set I have is Leibowitz/RPO which I have on Chesky reissues. To my mind, the Fifth and Seventh easily beat the famous recordings by Carlos Kleiber, and the sound is certainly better.  The Third, Fourth, Sixth, Eighth and Ninth are all strong performances. The Eighth is the best I have heard, and the Ninth is quite fine, although some do not like the bass soloist.

My favorite performance of the Ninth is with Otmar Suitner and the Berlin Staatskapelle. The sound is very smooth and spacious, and the drums in first movement about 8 minutes in are stunning. The soloists are all quite competent. The set also has an outstanding Fourth, and a very nice Sixth. The others are given satisfactory performances, so it's a decent set, though people want a lot of money for it. Karajan 1962 is much cheaper.

Karajan 1962 is a very strong set, the chief weakness being a rather business-like Sixth. We gave this set to some friends of ours for Christmas a few years ago and they have been very happy with it. It has certainly stood the test of time.

Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 12:21:59 AM »
Like Xenophanes, I am also a Leobowitz fan, have all nine and his Eroica is just superb. I also think that the bass soloist was sub par on what would otherwise have been an outstanding Ninth.

I imprinted on the Cluytens cycle over 40 years ago and it's still hard to beat as an overall choice and Bruno Walter, apart from a dreadful 9th did a good stereo set though I feel his mono cycle on M&A is a bit better. While I also have complete cycles from Toscanini/NBCSO, Furtwangler/various orchestras, Josef Krips, Pierre Monteux/various, Fritz Reiner/various I haven't acquired an LvB symphony recording in quite a while. Maybe I'm over this or alternatively, am satisfied that I can find a performance of each symphony in my collection that deeply satisfies me.
Cheers

Holden

Offline Cascade

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #24 on: June 13, 2013, 02:37:35 PM »
Karajan/Berliner '62
Dohnányi/Cleveland (Telarc)
Hogwood/AAM

Offline jeffnc

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #25 on: June 16, 2013, 04:03:04 AM »
I like Osmo Vanska on SACD, but one of my priorities is top end sound (no hissy mono recordings for me no matter how historically great.)

I also like Harnoncourt's period style recordings - very nice.

If I were listening on my expensive home stereo, I'd pick Vanska.  If I were listening on my iPod, I'd pick Harnoncourt.

I haven't heard Wand's entire cycle but his 6th is very nice, and they say his 9th is great.

Offline Kreutzer

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #26 on: June 24, 2013, 02:38:04 PM »
Way back in 1960 Everest released its Beethoven set with Joseph Krips and the London Symphony.   I bought the set mostly because it was the least expensive available, and I didn't have a lot of money for such things.  Since then I bought CDs by Karajan and some Klemper recordings.  When the Everest set was re-released on CD, I snapped it up because I no longer had a vinyl collection (or a turntable).  The Krips/London Symphony re-issue on CD has pleasant if not cutting-edge sonics.  The performances are pure nostalgia for me.  The CDs may no longer be available, but I think MP3 downloads are still available,  at very cheap prices.

Offline George

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Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #27 on: June 26, 2013, 02:13:37 AM »
Wand

I also like Barenboim, Szell and HvK '63.

"I can't live without music, because music is life." - Yvonne Lefébure

Offline jut1972

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #28 on: June 26, 2013, 11:38:03 AM »
First cycle I had was Karajan's 80's one.  So that's a fave.  Bought many more since then but you always remember your first.

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #29 on: June 26, 2013, 12:11:01 PM »
First cycle I had was Karajan's 80's one.  So that's a fave.  Bought many more since then but you always remember your first.

That's the only Beethoven cycle I ever encountered that I could not bring myself to listen to.  Karajan '63 is probably my favorite MI cycle, with Harnoncourt and Cluytens.

Offline Jay F

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #30 on: June 26, 2013, 01:07:27 PM »
Harnoncourt

Offline xochitl

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2013, 01:05:36 PM »
am i one of the 3 the people in the universe who likes karajan's 80s beethoven more than the 60s-70s? [have not heard his 50s cycle ftr]

Offline Jay F

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2013, 01:13:18 PM »
am i one of the 3 the people in the universe who likes karajan's 80s beethoven more than the 60s-70s? [have not heard his 50s cycle ftr]


Offline david johnson

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2013, 10:41:21 PM »
klemperer/philharmonia & hvk/bpo 60s.  I want Schmidt-Isserstedt/vpo 

Offline Rhymenoceros

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #34 on: June 28, 2013, 04:38:44 AM »
Another +1 for Harnoncourt



I especially love his 9th symphony.  It just sounds more exciting than all the other recordings I have heard.

Offline Tyson

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #35 on: July 07, 2013, 01:44:06 PM »
If you have SACD, then the Karajan 60's is definitely worth getting - the improved sound reveals quite a lot of nuance that DG lost in it's standard rez recordings.  For Redbook, I second (third?  fourth?) the Chailly set. 
At a loss for words.

Offline David M

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #36 on: September 12, 2013, 08:43:33 AM »
Way back in 1960 Everest released its Beethoven set with Joseph Krips and the London Symphony.   I bought the set mostly because it was the least expensive available, and I didn't have a lot of money for such things.  Since then I bought CDs by Karajan and some Klemper recordings.  When the Everest set was re-released on CD, I snapped it up because I no longer had a vinyl collection (or a turntable).  The Krips/London Symphony re-issue on CD has pleasant if not cutting-edge sonics.  The performances are pure nostalgia for me.  The CDs may no longer be available, but I think MP3 downloads are still available,  at very cheap prices.

Kreutzer, Krips was also my first set, bought by my mother at my insistence when I was about 10 years old. I am sure she bought it for it's bargain value. I too pick it up when it came out on CD and feel it holds up well. Of the 14 cycles I own (plus a cobbled together collection of Furtwangler Beethoven), my favorites are Klemperer, Szell and one not mentioned here yet, Karl Bohm. If I had to pick one, it would probably be Bohm. The three sets are quite different from each other and compliment each other well. I love Furtwangler's Beethoven Symphonies but you really should create your own set and double up on some symphonies (triple up in the case of the Ninth). I have Karajan 62 and 77 but have never fallen for Herbert. A different Herbert cycle, not yet mentioned here, that I like a lot is Blomstedt's Cycle from Dresden on Berlin Classics. Nothing eccentric, just consistently well played Beethoven.

The only recent sets I own are Rattle and Pletnev. Neither are my favorites but I do find Pletnev rather eccentric in a good way. I suppose after so many cycles and other random Beethoven Symphony recordings, I have come to look for things that stand out from the crowd.

Offline ChamberNut

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #37 on: September 12, 2013, 08:48:51 AM »
Another +1 for Harnoncourt



I especially love his 9th symphony.  It just sounds more exciting than all the other recordings I have heard.

Another +1 for Harnoncourt.  A thrilling 7th, especially the 1st movement.
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Offline aquablob

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #38 on: September 12, 2013, 03:43:22 PM »
am i one of the 3 the people in the universe who likes karajan's 80s beethoven more than the 60s-70s? [have not heard his 50s cycle ftr]

Just listened to the ’80s set for the first time. In my view, all three sets (haven't heard the ’50s either) are pretty damn similar in approach overall. I've enjoyed them all, and the sound of the ’80s cycle on the "Karajan Gold" remasters is fine. I'm not sure which HvK cycle I prefer, but I don't think your preference for the last one is unreasonable at all—not that your opinion needs my validation.

Offline yeongil

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Re: Beethoven Symphonies Cycle: Which is your #1 pick?
« Reply #39 on: September 13, 2013, 07:25:01 AM »
Way back in 1960 Everest released its Beethoven set with Joseph Krips and the London Symphony.   I bought the set mostly because it was the least expensive available, and I didn't have a lot of money for such things.  Since then I bought CDs by Karajan and some Klemper recordings.  When the Everest set was re-released on CD, I snapped it up because I no longer had a vinyl collection (or a turntable).  The Krips/London Symphony re-issue on CD has pleasant if not cutting-edge sonics.  The performances are pure nostalgia for me.  The CDs may no longer be available, but I think MP3 downloads are still available,  at very cheap prices.

Kreutzer, Krips was also my first set, bought by my mother at my insistence when I was about 10 years old. I am sure she bought it for it's bargain value. I too pick it up when it came out on CD and feel it holds up well.

Wow!  There are two others (beside me) who double-dipped on the Krips/LSO.  In my case, my mother first bought the audio cassette version for me, not LP, when I was about 14.  It was distributed by Murray-Hill Records and Tapes, and I remember that it was in a purplish-brown case.  I had two annoyances about the cassette set, and they weren't about the sound quality:
1) There was no liner notes booklet -- at least, my copy didn't have it.  I had also acquired the cassette version of Brendel's "Complete" Piano Music, also put out by Murray Hill (4 volumes of 4 cassettes each), and there were liner notes booklets included for those.
2) Because of the length of Symphony No. 9, Side A actually ended in the middle of the 3rd movement.  You flip over to Side B to hear the end of the 3rd movement, and the 4th movement.

However, the Krips/LSO was not my first cycle.  It was Solti/Chicago, only because it was the only complete cycle available in my public library when I was 10 years old.  I borrowed the LPs, and dubbed them to cassette tape (please don't report me to the authorities! :o)  Then I got the Krips/LSO on cassette when I was 14, and I bought Krips/LSO on CD many years later.  In the interim, I've listened to a few other cycles by borrowing from other libraries, including Hogwood/AAM and Karajan/Berlin '62.

I only own one cycle currently (with a couple of exceptions I do not own multiple recordings of the same work): the Zinman/Tonhalle Zurich.  Others may not agree, but I really like this cycle, my favorite of the ones I've heard so far.  I used to own the DVDs of Abbado/Berlin as well, and they were fine, but nevertheless I've sold them.