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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas & Concertos Box set

48 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, January 11, 2011
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$36.89
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$36.89 & FREE Shipping. Details Only 1 left in stock. Sold by Fulfillment Express US and Fulfilled by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas & Concertos + Schubert: Piano Works: Sonatas / Moments Musicaux / Impromptus / 'Wanderer' Fantasia + Mozart: Piano Sonatas
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Editorial Reviews

A reissue of Alfred Brendel's ANALOGUE recordings of Beethoven's Sonatas [recorded 1970-77]+ his first cycle of Concertos - including the Choral fantasia [with LPO / Haitink, recorded 1976-77] New booklet note by piano specialist Jeremy Siepmann This is one of several releases to mark Alfred Brendel's 80th birthday on 5 January 2011 [other releases include Schubert Major Piano Works; 3-CD Artists Choice Anniversary collection; 2-CD set of live Concertos [Brahms & Mozart]

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
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Product Details

  • Performer: Alfred Brendel
  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Bernard Haitink
  • Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (January 11, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 12
  • 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: Decca
  • ASIN: B0043UOQ26
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,990 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

106 of 107 people found the following review helpful By Gregory E. Foster VINE VOICE on March 18, 2011
Format: Audio CD
YES!

This is the cycle IMHO that put Alfred Brendel "on the map" for Beethoven interpretation. How well I remember the day I purchased this set on LP, in the BIG BOX, and literally "danced" out of the store, went home and began listening to these recordings for the first time! First, I had never heard all of the sonatas until then, and second I was simply in awe of the magnitude of this great volume of work written by perhaps the greatest musical genious of all time. I was mesmerized and this set (minus the concertos, of course) quickly became one of my most treasured recordings. Somehow, sadly, I missed this release the first time 'round on cd but did buy the digitally recorded traversal (his third set), but while they were quite wonderful I felt them not of the same character overall as this middle set of recordings, and longed for them but was not willing to pay collector prices for them.

How fortuitous for us that Decca (somehow the successor? of Philips) has decided to honor Alfred Brendel with a re-release of these masterful interpretations, and now including the concertos, upon his retirement from public performance (and probably from studio recording also). This is the set, by Brendel, that you want... The old Vox set had passages of great "early" brilliance from this greatest of pianists, and the third, digital, set presented the "mature" reflective Brendel. This set captured him at the time when he was reaching his early maturity interpretatively of Beethoven's great cycle for solo instrument, no longer eager to dazzle us as earlier on Vox, but now presenting these works with a mature and searching approach, secure in his attack and comfortable in his rethinking from that earlier set. As I said earlier, the third set (also now re-released on Decca vs.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Ray TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 13, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There's no denying that Alfred Brendel is one of the most esteemed pianists of the past half century, and Beethoven was among his particular specialties. Brendel actually recorded the complete set of 32 Beethoven Piano Sonatas three times during his career (he retired from public performances in 2008), and due to his expertise and command of the piano, as well as his interpretive skill of Beethoven's works, won acclaim for each of these cycles. As with many "best of kind" performances, these sets could, unfortunately, be hideously expensive to acquire, but if one had the opportunity to enjoy them, the rewards were substantial. There's a reason why Brendel has racked up so many awards and has been received with such universal acclaim, and even the briefest of examinations of any of these recording sets reveals just why.

Brendel has a magnificent command of the instrument. It is difficult to describe his style, but I might suggest that he is a classicist in performance, meaning that he attempts to remain "true" to original composition with little distracting interpretive style, yet with a deep pathos and a seeming deftness in play that makes you forget you are listening to someone who has practiced all his life. If you had the opportunity to see Brendel perform in person, you might have noticed that his mastery of the instrument was so total that he was able even to give subtle lighthearted signals to the audience while playing while never missing a note. (Once, while seeing him perform at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, he had just finished a Mozart piano sonata, and on the closing notes, made a little "trill," looked at the audience, and wiggled his eyebrows up and down in a playful grin, as if he were channeling Mozart's sense of humor.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Mahler fan on February 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I have admired this set of Beethoven's piano sonatas for many years, but I've never purchased it until now. Brendel's first and last complete cycles leave me a bit cold, whereas this middle cycle from the 1970s is consistently captivating, especially in some of the less popular works. His performance of the second mvt. of Op. 54 is worth the price of the entire box! Pianists in my opinion usually get Op. 54 wrong, playing the finale much too fast or too dry (e.g. Frank or Ashkenazy). Brendel's pacing is perfect, and his pedaling is sublime. Speaking of pedaling, he also gets the Waldstein finale just right: wonderfully blurry at the beginning, but with subtle pedal changes that keep the texture from becoming a catatonic mess. The op. 2 sonatas are also a joy. While this box may lack the fire of Ashkenazy and Claude Frank (both of whose complete Beethoven sets I love), it contains genuine poetry, and I would recommend it without qualification. I've only listened to the 3rd Concerto so far, but I enjoyed it very much, especially his first-movement cadenza--such poetry!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By jsa on August 22, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
In Elyse Mach's "Great Contemporary Pianists Speak for Themselves" (1980), Alfred Brendel observed that "Although I generally cannot complain about the reviews I get, once in New York a critic suggested that my playing of Beethoven would mature in the next few years. I hope the critic was right. I'm discovering new subtleties in Beethoven all the time. The awareness must be ongoing."

At the time of his interview with Mach, Brendel was in his late forties and had just completed the second of his three recorded Beethoven sonata cycles. Naturally the point of Brendel's comments was that you never stop growing, and while his third cycle from the 1990's was meant to demonstrate that, a comparison between his 1970's cycle and the later one (see my review: Beethoven: The Complete Piano Sonatas) prompts the question, Is newer necessarily better? In the case of Brendel's second and third cycles, my conclusion is that in a few sonatas, yes, the remakes are improvements, but the majority of the sonatas recorded in the '70's are superior to the pianist's final recorded statements.

Rather than go into a point by point comparison between the sets, I'll summarize by saying that by the 1990's Brendel's playing had become more like Kempff's, which is to say dry, compact and pinging, with a clipped/crimped style of attack. I'm not sure if this was conscious on Brendel's part or not, as he was a great admirer of the older pianist. His playing in the 1970's, on the other hand, was fuller and more stately, and less finicky. In the process of rethinking each sonata and all of their details, Brendel's conceptions had often become less natural by the 1990's.
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