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  • Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim
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Beethoven: Complete Piano Sonatas / Daniel Barenboim Box set

26 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 20, 1998
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • 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: Alliance
  • ASIN: B00000C2KP
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,626 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 93 people found the following review helpful By John Austin VINE VOICE on March 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A complete set of Beethoven's 32 piano sonatas will provide any serious music lover with rich and endless enjoyment. Bold, challenging, beautiful, witty and fresh - they seem to encompass all aspects of human sensibility and aspiration. It is perhaps the wit and the freshness that impress most in Barenboim's EMI boxed set of the complete sonatas.
Daniel Barenboim was 25 when he was invited to record them. Has any other pianist ever received such an invitation at that age? Barenboim accepted, but insisted that he be free to record them again if he wished to at a later stage in his career. Well, so far he has made one further complete recording, and that is very fine too.
This set, however, recorded 1966-1969 is the one complete set I prefer above all others. Every listener will have his favourite sonatas and his favourite moments in them. I especially like Barenboim's spontaneous playing of the four sonatas found on CD 8. Elsewhere, Barenboim sometimes has a tendency to push slow tempos to extreme: the variation movements of Nos 30 and 32 are surely excessively slow.
Welcome indeed, especially for those who once owned these recordings on first release vinyl, is the high quality of these 1989 EMI transfers. Adding inestimably to the value of this set are the notes provided by Eric Blom. Slightly abridged and edited here, they originally accompanied the first complete recording of the 32 sonatas made in the 1930s by Artur Schnabel.
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39 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Steve Kessell on May 16, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is classic early Barenboim (he was just 24 when he started recording this set in 1966). He is very enthusiastic and expressive (if you don't like him, he "takes liberties" and "shows off"). The slow movements are veerrry slow, and the fast ones really rip. Pianissimo is extremely soft, and fortissimo rattles the windows! [My wife insists that I wear headphones for late-night listening.]
Personally, I think his style is just right for Beethoven (but perhaps just a bit much when he plays Mozart). I'm very glad that I bought this set, but some might prefer Brendell's (Phillips) or Kempff's (DG) more sedate versions.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 4, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I bought this cycle since I was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with Wilhelm Kempff's (1964) set on DG - a set I grew up with while studying many of these sonatas at the piano. Though Kempff always plays with sensitivity, I simply find his cycle too tame, especially in sonatas which call for more passion. Barenboim's cycle couldn't contrast more strongly with Kempff's. Reviewers stating that this is a performance of extremes, are correct. But I think that is just what Beethoven called for. I never find Barenboim's tempos disturbingly slow or fast. His playing in the slow movements is remarkably beautiful. Of course, Barenboim was in his 20's when he recorded his cycle - Kempff was in his 70's (I've read that Kempff's earlier mono cycle on DG is considerably more passionate and urgent). I've also heard parts of the Ashkenazy cycle, and consider that pretty fine. But I am bothered by the sound of Ashkenazy's piano (and the recorded sound) - the treble is piercing, and the bass is much too twangy. I also think Ashkenazy is a little lacking in the greatest depths of expression - his performances are somewhat standardized and efficient, rather than inspired. - Barenboim's later cycle on DG (1980's) is also very good (I've just heard parts) - and is also cheap. I think the DG sound is a bit better than on this 1965-9 EMI cycle (on DG the piano has a bit more air around the instrument). But this EMI cycle remains unbeatable for Barenboim's passionate performances, full of youthful exuberance. He just compels you to keep listening through the whole box.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Frank Bosco on February 14, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This set has to be experienced. The clarity of these performances is beyond belief. If it's not the best set of Beethoven Sonatas, it is certainly among the very best. Take for example the first movement of Sonata number 21. It is so easy to have a performer play all the notes just as Beethoven wrote them and yet leave the listener in a morass of confusion without the slightest idea of what he had in mind. Not here. The ideas pour forth in a white light that has to be experienced. It really has to be experienced!! I love these performances. I will play them until I die. Oh...and the recordings are technically excellent. At least when played through Levinson electronics and Maggies....superb!
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26 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 4, 1999
Format: Audio CD
I've collected nearly all of the integral sets of the sonatas, and I'd find it hard to choose just one -- but this is certainly one set that I think I could live with and enjoy were I just to have one. Barenboim plays with both sensitivity and panache. I'd definitely choose this set over any of the Brendel recordings. The Richard Goode, Schnabel and first version of the Kempff would be other recommendations for great performances -- but for right now, this is where my heart is. Listen to these and see if you don't fall in love with the heartfelt beauty of these performances.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Rose on December 25, 1998
Format: Audio CD
I am not much of a pianist, but I enjoy piano music and really loved this 10-CD collection. Barenboim is crisp and accurate. I haven't heard most of these sonatas before; although many are new to me, I like them all. Barenboim is as good as any I've every heard on Moonlight and his rendition of Waldstein is so good that sometimes I put it on repeat and just let it run. I would rate the recording quality as excellent.
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