Poll

Which complete cycle of The Beethoven Symphonies do you consider the best?

Gardiner
Zinman
Hogwood
Immerseel
Vanska
Blomstedt
Karajan (All sets)
Pletnev
Toscanini (All sets)
Abbado
Walter
Mengelberg
Kegel
Haitink
Rattle
Goodman
Skrowaczewski
Sawalish
Norrington
Any one I forgot, please state which one!
Bernstein
Wand
Bohm
Furtwangler
Szell
Cluytens
Kubelik
Jochum
Isserstedt
Kempe
Harnoncourt
Klemperer
Monteux
Mackerras
Kletzki

Author Topic: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll  (Read 12611 times)

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jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #60 on: March 10, 2015, 01:59:40 PM »
Well, Karajan did 4, but I can't imagine you would ask if it was that easy.

Correct. :-)

And Karajan did 5, actually, if you count the first video cycle which is all different performances. The second video cycle seems to be the same as the "Gold" cycle... except for at least the last movement of the Ninth... possibly more.

I have to do some work checking out "Jochum 0", as I've dubbed it... but he might come out with 4 cycles (the first cobbled together from wartime recordings from Hamburg and Berlin). Incidentally: His brother recorded a complete LvB Cycle as well!

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #61 on: March 10, 2015, 03:47:50 PM »

Can it be, that there really are only two Russian Beethoven cycles out there? Fedosseyev and Pletnev? I'm now pushing 180 on my list (which might get reduced once I take piano versions out and potential doubles, like HvK V & VI or Abbado III & IV), and there are oodles of Japanese cycles, old and new, but nothing from the Soviet Union? And only two from Russia? Strange.

Offline trung224

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #62 on: March 10, 2015, 09:26:51 PM »
Correct. :-)

And Karajan did 5, actually, if you count the first video cycle which is all different performances. The second video cycle seems to be the same as the "Gold" cycle... except for at least the last movement of the Ninth... possibly more.

I have to do some work checking out "Jochum 0", as I've dubbed it... but he might come out with 4 cycles (the first cobbled together from wartime recordings from Hamburg and Berlin). Incidentally: His brother recorded a complete LvB Cycle as well!
  In fact, Karajan did 6. The latest is live cycle with BPO in Tokyo 1977, release on CD, and recently on SACD and BlurayAudio by Tokyo FM in Japan.
http://onebitaudio.com/?p=86

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #63 on: March 11, 2015, 03:06:53 AM »
  In fact, Karajan did 6. The latest is live cycle with BPO in Tokyo 1977, release on CD, and recently on SACD and BlurayAudio by Tokyo FM in Japan.
http://onebitaudio.com/?p=86

Brilliant. Thanks much for the link. Saw some of the covers (in miniature) and skipped right by them, thinking: Goodness gracious, ANOTHER Japanese way of re-packaging the 77 Cycle. :-)

Offline Jo498

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #64 on: March 11, 2015, 04:06:58 AM »
What was Melodiya's "standard" Beethoven in the 70s or so? Did they have one cobbled together with different conductors? Or Konwitschny/Dresden from the East German Socialist Brothers? They surely must have had a Beethoven cycle in the catalogue.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #65 on: March 11, 2015, 04:41:32 AM »
Can it be, that there really are only two Russian Beethoven cycles out there? Fedosseyev and Pletnev? I'm now pushing 180 on my list (which might get reduced once I take piano versions out and potential doubles, like HvK V & VI or Abbado III & IV), and there are oodles of Japanese cycles, old and new, but nothing from the Soviet Union? And only two from Russia? Strange.
What was Melodiya's "standard" Beethoven in the 70s or so? Did they have one cobbled together with different conductors? Or Konwitschny/Dresden from the East German Socialist Brothers? They surely must have had a Beethoven cycle in the catalogue.

Good question. Barshai, as I found out after typing what I typed, was allowed to make a set for Melodiya... all but the 9th. (Surely it wouldn't have been a problem for the Soviets to re-interpret Schiller as an anti-aristocratic proto-communist message? Apparently the reasons for not recording the 9th are described in the booklet of the set that has appeared recently; it did cross my mind that it might have been political.

I suspect you are right.  Konwitschny... Masur... or Kletzki. Fedosseyev's set even claims that it is the first complete Russian-Orchestra-Russian-Conductor set. (Not that I know one that's only got one of either; Sanderling surely isn't Russian; Kakhidze certainly isn't (in any case not complete)...

Offline Jo498

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #66 on: March 11, 2015, 05:10:44 AM »
Did Sanderling a complete cycle with the Leningrad?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #67 on: March 11, 2015, 06:00:51 AM »
Did Sanderling a complete cycle with the Leningrad?

No, Philharmonia. I meant to say that even if one included Russian conductor OR orchestra, Sanderling stil wouldn't count.

Offline ubertrout

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #68 on: March 12, 2015, 08:50:49 PM »
A couple of good ones not on the list - Steinberg's cycle with Command Classics comes to mind (sadly, only 2,4, and 7 were ever released officially as CDs).  On the flip side I also really liked Barenboim's cycle with the Berlin Staatskapelle (I was less enamoured of the version with his East-West Divan).  I also find myself reaching for Jaap van Zweden's cycle with the Hague Orchestra more than I'd suspect.

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #69 on: March 13, 2015, 06:25:05 AM »
A couple of good ones not on the list - Steinberg's cycle with Command Classics comes to mind (sadly, only 2,4, and 7 were ever released officially as CDs)...

But it has come out since, on CD.

Offline ubertrout

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #70 on: March 13, 2015, 07:13:37 AM »
But it has come out since, on CD.

That version is sourced from LPs, and apparently has problems including reversed channels.  There are also transfers from commercial open-reel tape floating around.  The only digital transfers from the original 35mm film are the 4th and 7th on MCA (somewhat bizarrely, on the back of the CD with symphonies 2+4, it indicates that Symphony No. 4 is taken from the original master, as it does for 7+Lenore on the other CD, but no word on the source for Symphony No. 2).

jlaurson

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #71 on: March 13, 2015, 07:16:09 AM »
That version is sourced from LPs, and apparently has problems including reversed channels.  There are also transfers from commercial open-reel tape floating around.  The only digital transfers from the original 35mm film are the 4th and 7th on MCA (somewhat bizarrely, on the back of the CD with symphonies 2+4, it indicates that Symphony No. 4 is taken from the original master, as it does for 7+Lenore on the other CD, but no word on the source for Symphony No. 2).

Haven't the masters been lost or gotten degraded? MCA got in there, before it was too late? I think one of the Amazon comments suggests so much.

Offline ubertrout

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #72 on: March 13, 2015, 08:48:15 AM »
Haven't the masters been lost or gotten degraded? MCA got in there, before it was too late? I think one of the Amazon comments suggests so much.
I saw somewhere on Amazon that ABC had trashed the masters in the 70s, but the existence of digital masters from the sources in the 80s belies that assertion.  Maybe they meant that ABC had trashed the magnetic tape intermediates?  Transferring from 35mm film shouldn't be an issue either, they did it for some of the Mercury Living Presence SACDs.

Offline Pat B

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #73 on: March 13, 2015, 10:16:14 AM »
I saw somewhere on Amazon that ABC had trashed the masters in the 70s, but the existence of digital masters from the sources in the 80s belies that assertion.  Maybe they meant that ABC had trashed the magnetic tape intermediates?  Transferring from 35mm film shouldn't be an issue either, they did it for some of the Mercury Living Presence SACDs.

Re: the Mercury remasters done by Wilma Cozart Fine in the '90s, they used the film where they could, but I read that even then some of them had deteriorated too much... or am I thinking about the tape recordings?

How do Steinberg's Command Beethovens compare to his earlier ones for Capitol (now owned by Warner via EMI)? IMO the Capitols are pretty good, very tightly executed but not particularly distinctive. I have them on his EMI Icon set.

I know I have some Steinberg/Command on vinyl, but I think it's Brahms -- I haven't been listening to much vinyl lately.

Sorry for the disjointed and possibly pointless message.

Offline ubertrout

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #74 on: March 13, 2015, 10:33:46 AM »
Re: the Mercury remasters done by Wilma Cozart Fine in the '90s, they used the film where they could, but I read that even then some of them had deteriorated too much... or am I thinking about the tape recordings?

How do Steinberg's Command Beethovens compare to his earlier ones for Capitol (now owned by Warner via EMI)? IMO the Capitols are pretty good, very tightly executed but not particularly distinctive. I have them on his EMI Icon set.

I know I have some Steinberg/Command on vinyl, but I think it's Brahms -- I haven't been listening to much vinyl lately.

Sorry for the disjointed and possibly pointless message.

I'm sure some film has deteriorated, but in theory it should be good for a while longer (although of course every year that passes decreases the odds).  What I do know is that they had the facilities for digitizing film recordings when they did the Mercury SACDs, 12 years or so after Wilma Cozart Fine digitized the mercury catalog.  While the '91 equipment may not still be around, I'd be more surprised if the 2004 equipment wasn't around anymore.  The Mercury SACD liner notes indicate that the 35mm transfers were done with a specially constructed Sondor Oma-S Chace machine (I'll admit I don't really know what this means, but the words are there) at 24-bit/192 khz.  Given that Universal owns both the Mercury and Command catalogs, I don't see why getting access to this equipment would be difficult for them again.

And they weren't using nitrate by the mid-60s.  The film stock they used should be reasonably stable.  Although once again, a lot of this is conjecture.

As for performance, there is only a partial cycle (3, 5, 6, and 8) in the EMI box.  I prefer what I've heard fom the Command recordings for both performance and sound quality, although frankly it's had to make a judgment for certain from the various transfers of commercial products and the '88 MCA CDs, which frankly sound very early digital to me.

Offline Xenophanes

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #75 on: March 13, 2015, 11:44:25 AM »
I haven't got all that many complete or near complete sets. I checked off Karajan because I have Karajan 1962, which is very good. No. 5 is excellent, and I don't even like the Fifth Symphony all that much. The weakest spot is a rather business like no. 6 At the price, one could hardly go wrong.

 Schmidt-Isserstedt is no doubt very good, too, but all I have are nos. 3 and 9.

My actual favorites are ones you have left.

The Leibowitz/RPO set is very strong throughout, though some don't like the bass in no. 9. Generally, this seems about as good as it gets, with an excellent no. 4, a no. 5 which is at least equal to Carlos Kleiber's version and better recorded, and the best no. 8 I have ever heard. 

Ansermet is also very strong, though some might find no. 5 understated, though I like it well enough, and no.9 is grand and spacious, with a fine set of soloists, but I find it is not very dramatic. Nos. 4  and 7 are outstanding and no. 6 is quite beautiful.

Suitner did a good solid set. The recordings are somewhat variable in quality but all are quite smooth.  No. 6 is quite nice and I always enjoy it. Nos. 4 and 9 are as good as it gets, and the recording quality is excellent. I have often used the 4th movement of no. 9 as a test recording for chorus when auditioning speakers. I actually got this as a box set long ago, though it is now rather expensive.


Offline mszczuj

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #76 on: March 14, 2015, 12:14:23 AM »
What was Melodiya's "standard" Beethoven in the 70s or so? Did they have one cobbled together with different conductors?

The only Melodiya LP Box with complete set I have ever seen was the mixed one of Walter (1-3,8,9), Furtwangler (4, 6, 7) and Toscanini (5) with additon of Brahms Tragic Overture and Bruckner Te Deum (Walter). But it was not very popular I think.

Offline mszczuj

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #77 on: March 14, 2015, 12:19:42 AM »
I voted Goodman, Kletzki, Immerseel, Haitink (Concertgebouw) and other that was Paavo Jarvi.

Offline aligreto

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Re: Re-post Complete Beethoven sets. Poll
« Reply #78 on: March 14, 2015, 03:07:30 AM »
My vote went to Gardiner, Mackerras, Hogwood, von Karajan and Cluytens.
The ability to talk comes with knowledge. The ability to listen comes with wisdom.