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Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies [Box set]

Ludwig van Beethoven , David Zinman , Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)

Price: $21.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies + Beethoven: Complete Overtures + Beethoven: Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 4
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Product Details

  • Performer: Ludwig van Beethoven, David Zinman, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra
  • Audio CD (April 27, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • 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: RCA
  • ASIN: B00000IFP6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (70 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,816 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: I. Adagio molto - L.V. Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: II. Andante cantabile con moto - L.V. Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: III. Menuetto - L.V. Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: IV. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace - L.V. Beethoven
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No.3 In E Flat Major Op.55: I. Allegro con brio - Ludwig Van Beethoven
2. Symphony No.3 In E Flat Major Op.55: II. Marcia funebre - Ludwig Van Beethoven
3. Symphony No.3 In E Flat Major Op.55: III. Scherzo - Ludwig Van Beethoven
4. Symphony No.3 In E Flat Major Op.55: Finale - Allegro molto - Ludwig Van Beethoven
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor Op.67: I. Allegro con brio - Ludwig Van Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor Op.67: II. Andante con moto - Ludwig Van Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor Op.67: III. Allegro - Ludwig Van Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 5 In C Minor Op.67: IV. Allegro - Ludwig Van Beethoven
See all 9 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Symphony No.7 In A Major Op.92: I. Poco Sostenuto - Vivace - L.V. Beethoven
2. Symphony No.7 In A Major Op.92: II. Allegretto - L.V. Beethoven
3. Symphony No.7 In A Major Op.92: III. Presto - L.V. Beethoven
4. Symphony No.7 In A Major Op.92: IV. Allegro Con Brio - L.V. Beethoven
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor Op.125: I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo - Ludwig Van Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor Op.125: II. Molto Vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor Op.125: III. Adagio Molto E Cantabile - Ludwig Van Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor Op.125: IV. Presto - Ludwig Van Beethoven
See all 6 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

If you're looking for a real bargain set of Beethoven's complete symphonies, look no further. David Zinman leads the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich through the big nine. Unconventional--this is the world-premiere, modern-instrument recording of the New Barenreiter Edition (translation: slight variations in the scoring)--and with Zinman's typically fast tempos, these are spirited, though probably not definitive, performances. Herbert Von Karajan's 1963 cycle of Beethoven's symphonies must still be considered the essential versions and, costing only 10 dollars more than this set, it's just as much of a bargain. But, for Beethoven lovers on a tight budget, folks looking to add one more Beethoven cycle to their music library, or experts who want to hear what the fuss of the Barenreiter Edition is about, this set shouldn't be passed up. Zinman and Tonhalle have delivered a winner, with excellent sound and a great sticker price. --Jason Verlinde

Product Description


Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
79 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaves other cycles in the dust - Don't pass this up!! December 5, 2003
By Mike G.
Format:Audio CD
In light of such positive feedback of what I considered a sub-par review, I've decided to rewrite this and add some things that have recently come to light, namely comparisons that I've drawn to more recent recordings such as Paavo Jarvi's cycle with Bremen and Norrington's newer cycle with the SRSO, two cycles that are similar in scope to Zinman's.

I arrived at this cycle years ago after I grew increasingly disgusted with my previous set - Karajan's renowned '63 cycle with Berlin, characterized by sluggish and grandiose interpretations of what I think should be turbulent, violent, breathless music. At the time, this set stood as the only modern instrument alternative to such traditional interpretations, and I had not yet discovered the period-instrument culture, so this cycle was a must for me, and still remains close to the top of my list.

Zinman's cycle is sort of a hybrid of modern and period styles. A few specific points on this factor:
1) The instruments themselves are modern, as in Norrington's cycle (I think). Zinman would go on to use natural brass for his recordings of the overtures and the concertos, as well as his Schumann cycle, but not here. Jarvi's brass - standard modern horns paired with natural trumpets, are much more incisive and closer in sound to Zinman's later (improved, in my opinion) brass.
2) Zinman keeps vibrato in the strings from getting out of hand, while not "banning" it altogether as Norrington does. Jarvi steers a path between the two. All three approaches are fine, in my opinion.
3) You'll hear the horns muting (stopping) some of their notes in the natural horn style. This is interesting at some points, but it can get a little too buzzy for my tastes, and this interferes with the solo lines much more than it should.
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57 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Numinous! A "Must Have!" April 5, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Beethoven symphonies are essential to any good music collection and the music lover has a ridiculously large number of recordings to select from. The selection process just got easier. The Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (under the scorching direction of David Zinman) has recorded the 9 on the Arte Nova label. Now this would be a superb recording under any circumstances, but when you take into account that the entire set (5 CDs) sells for a terrific bargin price these recordings have no rival!!! Zinman uses the new critical Barenreiter Edition of Jonathan Del Mar, which means that many errors of the Breitkopf edition are corrected. Plus - and it is a real asset - Zinman tends to stick to Beethoven's blistering tempi. The little Turkish march in the 4th movement of the 9th just flies! The 8th symphony rips along like Haydn on crystal meth! I cannot recommend these performances too highly - they would be well worth a "full" price, but at this price it's a "no-brainer." Buy these, it will remind you why Beethoven is considered one of the titans of music.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I'll give the cycle 5 stars in part because of the price and also in part because Zinman is well known and liked around here - having made some fine music with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for over a decade. As a second or third set of all nine Beethoven symphonies, these disks seem irresistible; even as a first set, they could be a fine choice.
Zinman is in tight control of his orchestra throughout. The tempos are consistently brisk and sometimes driven. The players are highly professional, if not quite at the level of, say, the Berlin Philharmonic. Zinman attempts an "authentic" sounding performance, though with modern instruments. Strings tend to be light, and winds and percussion are out front. Zinman also conducts from a new edition of the scores, reflecting recent scholarship (resulting, for example, in alternative endings to the 9th, based on different performance scores Beethoven himself used).
These performances (like other "authentic" performances) can be a revelation in comparison to the grand-romantic style of Beethoven performance that had become conventional. But these performances also can be enjoyed by anyone on their own terms; Zinman knows how to make music.
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40 of 45 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fast speeds, exceptional clarity and good recording September 23, 2005
Format:Audio CD
This set is back in circulation and, apparently, all the recordings are now available individually. This is probably the more important development for people that want to sample Zinman's review of Beethoven using period speeds and the Bahrenreiter edition.

My overall impression of this set is that the recordings are uniformly rapid, or fast, and that the orchestra plays with exceptional clarity. I would say the two best performances in the set are the Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 and would call the momentous Symphony No. 9 a miss. The others are good if this approach is what you want to hear.

For listeners used to performances by the likes of Bernstein, Bohm, Karajan, Furtwangler or other big names in the late 20th century tradition, this set may seem superficial. The speeds are uniformly fast -- the third movement of the Symphony No. 9 is done at such a rapid presto that you won't believe it -- and the performances may seem superficial as a result. No one will ever accuse Zinman of dragging his feet or being dull in this music.

Before acquiring this set my only Beethoven experience with Zinman was a performance of the "Creatures of Prometheus" ballet on the Vox label with the Baltimore Symphony. I thoroughly enjoyed that recording for years and looked forward to Zinman's traversal of the symphonies.

Apparently others did, too, since the set sold over 1 million copies in its original printing. This time, it is back at an even lower price. You can buy them on the cheap through an Amazon dealer, making this one of the most economical sets of Beethoven symphonies ever produced short of the famous set by the London Symphony Orchestra and Josef Krips, which continues to show up now and then on ultra cheap discount labels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of a kind
For those of you with (or even without) extensive collections I'm sure you have "favorites" which you might play over and over which, back in the day, would have worn out... Read more
Published 3 months ago by J. B. Robert
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it!
I especially love the 7th symphony, 2nd movement. It's the music you hear in the movie "Knowing". It is so moving.
Published 7 months ago by Dale L Coppock
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven
I have been a Beethoven listener since Junior High School when my brother-in-law signed me up to go to the symphony when they had the program for Jr. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Jan B Hanna
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven, fresh and immediate
I have had this box CD of Beethoven's complete symphonies with David Zinman conducting the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, issued in 1998 and 1999, for many years now. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Nicholas Freidin
4.0 out of 5 stars Hmmm?
I may have to hear this cycle a few more times. I can see the fresh breath of air thing people are talking about but sometimes it doesn't work, not so much breathtaking as trying... Read more
Published 18 months ago by sean o'brien
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't buy this just because it's a bargain
I bought this during a period of little money, when I had to consider the price of my CD purchases. This version was the cheapest I could find of the Beethoven symphonies, and I... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Music maven
4.0 out of 5 stars Good version of the Symphonies
Great sound quality and performance, though a bit fast in tempo, bordering between lively and rushed. That's one interpretation! Read more
Published 20 months ago by Isle of Glass
4.0 out of 5 stars new critical edition resounds
For years I have had scores for the Beethoven's symphonies and wanted to hear them anew on CDs. The orchestral sounds ... and the liner notes surpass my expectations.
Published 21 months ago by Paul Haberstock
5.0 out of 5 stars Beethoven as I think he would like it
I've been listening to these symphonies for more than fifty years, from Furtwangler to Dudomel, and I love these. Read more
Published on March 18, 2012 by Inquiring Mind
2.0 out of 5 stars Another odd one
I don't know what's worse, the stodgy-paced renditions of old or the hurry-it-up contemporary ones. When I hear those slow, hulking giants, I can barely stand it. Read more
Published on February 14, 2011 by Kris Marker
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