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  • Beethoven: 9 Symphonies
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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, September 20, 1994
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$104.90 $11.92

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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: #32,325 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By M. Friedman on 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 67 people found the following review helpful By Yi-Peng on November 21, 2000
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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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Octavius on 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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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By bruce horner on October 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
If you've already got favorite versions of Beethoven's symphonies, Gardiner may not convert you, but he gives you plenty to think about with these very interesting alternative performances. With all the scholarship and hard work that went into this cycle, perhaps this version IS closer to what Beethoven intended (though who can say for sure?), but a happy surprise is the verve and brio of these 'period' performances. It used to be that so-called 'period instrument' versions of classical music came off sounding bloodless and dessicated. Not so here! Partly this is due to the rethinking of the tempi involved; this is the FASTEST set of Beethoven symphonies that you're ever likely come across. But the musicianship is both gutsy and sensitive---just top-notch throughout. While I must admit, these will probably never be my favorite versions of the Third, Fifth, or Seventh, I can live very happily with the First, Second, Fourth, and Eighth here. But this entire cycle should be heard several times by any Beethoven fan, and the CD of commentary by Gardiner is fascinating and illuminating (and persuasive). The sound quality is great, too. Well worth the price.
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