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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, June 26, 2012
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Beethoven: Complete Symphonies + Mozart The Symphonies
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Staatskapelle Dresden
  • Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (June 26, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • 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: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B007NCP86E
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,237 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

'Herbert Blomstedt's Beethoven cycle with the Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the great ones, as much for the magnificent playing of this finest of all German orchestras as for Blomstedt's effortlessly musical interpretations.' 10/10 for artistic quality and sound quality. David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 22 customer reviews
The quality if the sound is very good (considering the ADD production).
Ron Scheidel
These are exciting, engaging awesome performances and if you love Beethoven, you owe it to yourself to get this symphony cycle.
W. Evans
This modestly-priced 5-CD set of Beethoven symphonies is my current favorite.
JohnK

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 52 people found the following review helpful By W. Evans on December 26, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Have you ever listened to a Beethoven symphony that was too smooth sounding? Maybe the accents and dynamic of the score weren't being paid much attention to. The performance was just a performance and not really what Beethoven had intended his audience to experience. Beethoven was quite the revolutionary and after him everything changed. Nothing remained of the old musical word. Yes, it did take some time but not long after his death, his music was being performed at almost every music venue in Europe. That pretty much has continued to this day world wide. Complete recordings of his symphonies abound. And this is one of them. Great in conception and execution and performance. This little white cd box from Brilliant Classics with the nine Beethoven symphonies, conducted by quite possibly the greatest Beethoven conductor of his generation, Herbert Blomstedt conducting the Staaskapelle Dresden, quite possibly the finest Beethoven orchestra anywhere are contained in this little unassuming 5 cd case. These are exciting, engaging awesome performances and if you love Beethoven, you owe it to yourself to get this symphony cycle. The audio is upfront and crystal clear with a wide deep sound field. Alas, no booklet is included but after all this time who needs one. Not to be missed.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Autonomeus on March 1, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Herbert Blomstedt, the Swedish conductor, become the Chief Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden in 1975, where he stayed until 1985. This was unusual given that Dresden was in the DDR -- East Germany. More unusual, Blomstedt was (and remains) a devout Seventh Day Adventist. He was leading the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra in the same period (1977-1982), so he must have been quite busy. According to the Berlin Classics liner notes the SD, which chose Blomstedt, "was never looked upon very favourably by the ruling party."

The Staatskapelle Dresden is one of the world's oldest (founded in 1548) and finest symphony orchestras. It was certainly in prime condition from 1975 to 1980 when this Beethoven cycle was recorded. The recordings were made in the acoustically excellent Lukaskirche in Dresden. So the sound is magnificent. Blomstedt's interpretations, however, are not very exciting. The tempos are slow, and tend to sound sluggish when more dynamism is called for in the fast movements. It is in the slow movements that Blomstedt and this fine orchestra shine. The Adagio of the Third, for instance, is very moving in stark contrast to the more famous Karajan/BPO 1962 recording. In the Ninth, the Molto vivace is clumsy where it should be dazzling and light on its feet, but the Adagio is one of the finest I've heard, just incomparably lovely.

For Beethoven in a similar traditional vein I prefer Gunter Wand's cycle with the NDR Hamburg orchestra, recorded in the late 1980s.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Kline PhD, MD on April 6, 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Recorded between 1975-1980. All are ADD; none were recorded digitally. NO BOOKLET INCLUDED! Each symphony's track listings are on each sleeve. Good dynamics. Clean interpretations. Music is somewhat compressed such that dynamic range isn't as wide as today's recordings. Peaks are a bit congested. Notes on some of the individual symphonies are given in the order presented, e.g. Symphony 1 is couple with 3 on the same disc.

#1. Played well without being romanticized with retards, etc. More like something from the Classical Period as it should be. I've heard better Firsts.

#3. The Eroica is not particularly special. In fact, the orchestra sounds like a smaller ensemble but perhaps it was scaled down to a size more appropriate to Beethoven's time. An alternative explanation could be layed at the feet of the recording engineer. At any rate, it doesn't sound very heroic or intense. The 2nd Movement and the Poco andante of the 4th Movement are lovingly and beautifully played. The 3rd Movement Scherzo and Trio are played with less urgency than commonly heard. Oddly, the 4th Movement sounds a little more like a full-sized orchestra.

#2 & #4. Full orchestra sound arrives with the 2nd Symphony. Very well played in a more Classical style as still appropriate. The 1st Movement gives a glimpse of that melodic and rhythmic motif later to be heard in the Ninth Symphony. I suspect that since these two symphonies were recorded later than the 1st and the 3rd, they benefitted from the engineer's learning curve. The Second's Larghetto is sweetly played. The final movement is perfect in every way aside from the mild congestion on peaks that occurs and is so common in recordings from the days before DDD.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By JohnK on June 27, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This modestly-priced 5-CD set of Beethoven symphonies is my current favorite. Herbert Blomstedt, an underrated conductor who has spent much of his career in central Europe, always seems to pick just the right tempo for each movement and gets his superb orchestra, the Dresden Staatskapelle, to rise to all the big moments in these familiar scores. The analog recordings from the late 1970's are excellent, with the woodwinds realistically balanced in the orchestra (not spotlit as in many other cases). There are no notes included in the set, nor are there any overtures. Though there are many other options for these symphonies, this set is a superb reference - and it comes at bargain price to boot!
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