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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies [Box set]

Ludwig van Beethoven , John Eliot Gardiner , Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique , Luba Orgonasova , Anne Sofie von Otter , Anthony Rolfe Johnson , Gilles Cachemaille , The Monteverdi Choir Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 38 Songs, 1994 $47.49  
Audio CD, Box set, 1994 --  

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Product Details

  • Performer: Luba Orgonasova, Anne Sofie von Otter, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Gilles Cachemaille, The Monteverdi Choir
  • Orchestra: Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique
  • Conductor: John Eliot Gardiner
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (September 20, 1994)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Archiv Produktion
  • ASIN: B0000057EO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,638 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant December 22, 1999
Format:Audio CD
I have never heard Beethoven played with such verve and excitement. While the Karajan and Furtwangler Beethoven symphonies are majestic and stately, like a top-of-the-line Mercedes Benz, Gardiner's purrs, roars and sings like a Porsche.
The Third simply rocks. It's as if Gardiner re-interpreted the young Beethoven as the enfant terrible his contemporaries took him for. The fifth, particularly in the transition from the third to fourth movements, conrtains everything anyone needs to know about music.
Gardiner finds awe in thr Pastoral, mischievous humour in the seventh. And the ninth, shorn of a century of German romantic bombast, sounds like the revolutionary anthem Beethoven likely intended.
The problem with Beethoven symphonies, though, is that you have to listen to several interpretations to really appreciate the transcendent Genius of Beethoven.
Get this one. Byut get Furtwangler's and Karajan's first set as well.
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56 of 66 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Beauty of the "Bloodthirsty" Beethoven November 21, 2000
By Yi-Peng
Format:Audio CD
The many recorded cycles of Beethoven symphonies have been reckoning up by dozens, like Sir Joseph's female relations, but I feel the fondest of this entire cycle among the historically-informed versions. Sir John Eliot Gardiner and his period-instrument forces have brushed these works clean of cobwebs, such that they sound fresh, clean and in line with what Beethoven would have wanted us to experience. To be sure, some listeners who favour the anodyne Karajanesque or Furtwangleresque approach applied to these works would be upset with the fast speeds, but these readings hardly sound wooden and mechanical. Rather, open-hearted listeners can find that Sir John shapes the music and allows articulate detail to mingle with the emotions in these works, helped by DG's transparent and luminous 4-D audio recording.

Throughout this cycle, Sir John brings out the "bloodthirsty beauty" of Beethoven's symphonies, keeping us on the edge with the well-articulated and heartfelt interpretations of the major symphonies. Yet there is still Mozartian-like charm in the early symphonies, especially the First and Second. In the longer symphonies Sir John's classical approach still allows us to feel Beethoven's emotions, and the nuances of the music are keenly and cleanly fleshed out. You can feel the Olympian power of the Eroica in a relentless and fierry performance, and the relentless drive of the Fifth that can well resonate with human conditions. The rhythmically-driven renditions of the 7th and 8th bring out the bucolic charm and character of the piece. The brisk speeds of the Pastoral don't sound rushed, but still allow for a warmly affable, cheerful and open-hearted reading that sounds welcoming of the open countryside that so influenced this music, aided by keen and detailed woodwind playing.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haven't Heard Better Really October 19, 2005
Format:Audio CD
I tend to agree with a lot of points mentioned by the previous reviewers but I don't find this work to be as despicable as they make it seem. Traditionalist revisionism is always a tricky thing in classical music composition drawing a lot of opinions from various points of view. There are certainly defects to these performances and interpretations, but, compared to a lot of other work out there it's certainly not average or the worst. I don't regret having purchased this set despite its deficiencies.

Beethoven was alive during the times of the French Revolution and Napoleon and was an ardent republican in Austria under the Hapsburg court. Many of his symphonies incorporate his ideals of revolutionary change. A disproportionate majority of the performances for these symphonies, particularly older conductors, completely misinterpret Beethoven's intention. A perfect example of this is in the march for the last movement of the 9th Symphony. If you listen to any of Karajan's, Solti's, or even Bernstein's interpretation it sounds like a damn funeral procession. The march in the piece is a revolutionary military march that is meant to proceed at a fast pace. In terms of military marches, the other interpretations are too slow even for a funeral. The only thing that keeps me from falling asleep when listening to them is the volume which is overbearing: I can barely recognize a single section in that Mahleresque cacophony. It's just symphonic overkill for these pieces. So loud Beethoven would have probably said 'Turn it down it's too loud!' in his deaf old age. Gardiner's symphony could use a little more volume but the traditional instruments don't permit that.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the most magnificent sets December 13, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Gardiner's period instrument cycle was the best of both worlds when it was released in the mid-nineties, appealing to purists and traditionalists alike. It secured better playing than Hogwood did in his fine cycle and has remained in-print unlike Bruggen's fantastic series. But most importantly, it did not grossly offended many listeners like Rodger Norrington's cycle did, with its hard hitting accents and fast tempos. Indeed, it was Beethoven for Beethoven's sake, with spirited tempos, big playing, and a true understanding of the composer's idiom. In this regard, despite the publication of the Barenreiter editions, the set still remains fresh, attractive, and "current" with much of the recent scholarship, in no small part because Gardiner worked with Del Mar in preparation of this set.

As far as complete cycles go, this still remains a favorite period set as well as a front runner as far as cycles are concerned. For one, Gardiner secures fabulous playing from his period band, with full-bodied, gutsy strings, golden-toned brass, and bright winds, especially from the typically undernourished clarinets and bassoons. Intonation is always spot-on and the overall timbre of the orchestra has that typical warmth and spice one can only find from period instruments. Secondly, Gardiner is across-the-board a very fine interpreter indeed. He is excellent in all the sonata-form movements, judging and balancing climaxes wonderfully, while finding the humor throughout, especially in Beethoven's delicious scherzo movements. But he also knows when to pull back and let lyrical passages be just that lyrical, that lack of which was the major shortcoming in Norrington's cycle.

A great example would be Gardiner's absolutely thrilling Seventh, one of the truly great performances of this work.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars What's the hurry?
I'm an enthusiastic fan of Gardiner's interpretations - I generally quite enjoy his brisk, lively pacing and clarity of expression. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Barnaby Thieme
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven as Beethoven would have heard it (only, he was deaf)
Beethoven was actually pretty much completely deaf when his late period music was composed, so this quip is not entirely true. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Joanna Daneman
2.0 out of 5 stars The Little Engines that Almost Could
Now nine Thomas the Tank Engine locomotives embarked on an adventure. Back at the signals office, their boss was the Spry Controller. He was a man who kept his feelings to himself. Read more
Published on October 24, 2011 by Bernard Michael O'Hanlon
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended!
There is and can be no "reference version" of Beethoven's symphonies. A range of interpretive approaches is possible, rather narrow in fact but made seemingly broad by our... Read more
Published on February 14, 2011 by KenOC
5.0 out of 5 stars After 16 years, it is still my favorite collection of all Beethoven...
I've owned this box set for 16 years, and have never regretted the purchase. Yes, there are other individual recordings I do prefer over the recordings on this album, but as a... Read more
Published on February 13, 2011 by J. Harig
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible
mr. gardiner takes us to a magic world of sound & space. you will never imagine that he's playing with original instruments; the sound is rich spacious & full of body. Read more
Published on January 11, 2011 by jose
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't find a better set of Beethoven symphonies...
I'll keep this short as I am not a classical music fan who's ever had any kind of music ed or training. Read more
Published on December 31, 2010 by R. P. Sanders
4.0 out of 5 stars several ages
I don t know exactly whether I d rather be acquainted with Beethoven s "purity",or to be touched by his "translated"feelings. Read more
Published on July 15, 2010 by Flavio Jose Morsch
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Played and Superbly Recorded
This is an excellent recording. DG did a superb job. Gardiner's conducting was flawless. I cried while listening to the 9th symphony. Read more
Published on April 30, 2010 by Shelby
5.0 out of 5 stars The fast and the furious.
Overall this set is brilliantly played and provides a hugely entertaining listen. It is certainly the best period instruments Beethoven cycle, and some have said it is the best... Read more
Published on April 5, 2010 by Joseph M. Perorazio
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