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  • Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Overtures (Essential Classics)
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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Overtures (Essential Classics)


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4 new from $253.78 17 used from $32.98
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Audio CD, August 25, 1992
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Cleveland Orchestra
  • Conductor: George Szell
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (August 25, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Label: Sony Essential Classics
  • ASIN: B000002800
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #18,679 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio - L.V. Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: II. Larghetto - L.V. Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: III. Scherzo. Allegro - L.V. Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 2 In D Major, Op. 36: IV. Allegro molto. - L.V. Beethoven
See all 10 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: I. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio - Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: II. Andante cantabile con moto - Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: III. Menuetto - Allegro molto e vivace - Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 1 In C Major, Op. 21: IV. Finale: Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace - Beethoven
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Symphony No. 4 In B-Flat Major, Op. 60: I. Adagio - Allegro vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 4 In B-Flat Major, Op. 60: II. Adagio - Ludwig Van Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 4 In B-Flat Major, Op. 60: III. Allegro vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 4 In B-Flat Major, Op. 60: IV. Allegro ma non troppo - Ludwig Van Beethoven
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso - Ludwig Van Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': II. Molto vivace - Ludwig Van Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato - Ludwig Van Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': IV. Presto - Ludwig Van Beethoven
See all 7 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 55 'Eroica': I. Allegro con brio - L.V. Beethoven
2. Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 55 'Eroica': II. Marcia funebre: Adagio assai - L.V. Beethoven
3. Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 55 'Eroica': IIIScherzo: Allegro vivace - Trio - L.V. Beethoven
4. Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat Major, Op. 55 'Eroica': IV. Finale: Allegro molto - Poco andante - L.V. Beethoven
See all 6 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

How is it possible that one of the greatest Beethoven cycles on disc, and certainly the finest in the Sony catalog, winds up at budget price? Here's a little insider information: When Sony moved its corporate headquarters to Germany, the Herbert von Karajan-obsessed leaders of the company figured that all of those "older" recordings were worthless, particularly the American ones. Having no clue that George Szell was one of the two or three greatest conductors of the 20th century, they then stuck them on their cheapie budget line, and voilá! Great Beethoven at a rock bottom price. Sony's back in New York now, under sensible management, and Szell's recordings are still the best deal in town. --David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 28 customer reviews
Now it's out of print, selling for hundreds of dollars, and still worth it.
Scott R. Lucado
George Szell was a master, and his Cleveland Orchestra was one of the greatest ensembles ever.
R. Kunath
This is the best collection of Beethoven's symphonies I have ever listened to.
unmeel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By R. Kunath on September 22, 1999
I grew up listening to these recordings on LP (and, indeed, wore out two sets) and they still strike me as some of the most satisfying interpretations of the Nine symphonies ever recorded. Szell was sometimes said to be a "cold" conductor, and the idiocy of that critical judgment is clear in every bar of these performances: these are some of the most emotionally powerful and intense performances ever recorded. George Szell was a master, and his Cleveland Orchestra was one of the greatest ensembles ever. This set would be one of the very best if it were at full price: at budget price, it's a miraculous bargain.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1999
Many recent Beethoven recordings are known for their "authenticity" or "historical accuracy". The fact is, we have no idea exactly how Beethoven's music was performed during his lifetime, and none of the many "original instrument" performances that I have heard can come close to the emotional depth and musicality of the Szell/Cleveland recordings. In addition to reminding us of Szell's flawless leadership, these discs feature superlative performances by some of the greatest musicians that have ever lived: Principal Oboist Marc Lifschey, the late, great Clarinetist Robert Marcellus, Tympanist Clloyd Duff, Hornist Myron Bloom as well as the rest of this legendary ensemble. And all for a great price, too. This is far superior to any other collection of Beethoven Symphonies I have heard. Really, this is music making at it's best!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By elink558@yahoo.com on March 18, 2000
Different conductors interpret Beethoven's Symphonies very differently. Szell's performances contained in this set have been among my favorites - especially the Ninth Symphony. I have heard other recordings of the Ninth that may be better in sensory qualities (richer orchestral sound, more vivid recording...). However, this one speaks to me so much spiritually. It brings out the `higher realization evident in the Ninth' so clearly and convincingly, with such power and subtlety at the same time. I feel very blessed to have come to experience what is contained the Ninth through this recording. It has played an integral part in my development.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By tcbarry@teleport.com on January 27, 1999
This CD collection of performances originally recorded in the 60's showcases the Szell/Cleveland combination at the height of the maestro's form. All of the readings are memorable with the 3rd and 7th particularly intense. The ADD remastering is very good providing sound quality that is full and clear. This set can hold its own with any on the market and deserves a place in any serious Beethoven collector's library.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 2002
Have you ever heard any of the so-called period recordings of Beethoven's symphonies? Well, forget about them! George Szell may not have been a period innovator, but he was one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century. And few recordings have been able to match the greatness of Szell's Beethoven. Now, I do not believe in such a thing as authenticity when it comes to how a work of music should be played. I don't mind if they're just trying to recreate how it would have been played during Beethoven's time, but must Roger Norrington and others say that they HAVE to be played that way to be appreciated? (Norrington, please hit the showers.)
IMHO, George Szell's Beethoven may not be in period form, but they blow away a lot of other versions, especially in his recordings of the 3rd, 6th, and 9th symphonies. Even Norrington's 9th is no match for Szell. He simply gets blown away by Szell's mastery of the Cleveland Orchestra and the chorus under the direction of the great Robert Shaw. Just listen, and you'll see why.
Finally, there is not a performance among the rest that isn't at least very good. Even the 5th sounds well played....
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By unmeel on December 4, 1999
These CD's were my first experience with Beethoven's symphonies. The execution is masterful at all times, save perhaps one or two of the overtures. In particular, the buildup of the Finale for the fourth movement(Presto) of the 9th symphony, with its low solo and subsequent development and the thunderous climax, was one of the most enjoyable parts. This is the best collection of Beethoven's symphonies I have ever listened to.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Beckerman on April 5, 1999
There has not yet been and probably never will be a set like this. This is the reference standard for how the Nine should be interpreted and executed. The precision and technical expertise with which conductor and orchestra carry this off is a marvel. Every note sounds exactly as it should. Every phrase, every line sounds totally natural as though it was preordained to sound like this. The only gripe can be found with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus which sounds (perhaps due to the sound engineer) fuzzy and unfocused. The Overtures fare less well as Szell insists on having them played at a sound level one would expect a band to play "The Stars and Stripes Forever." It would be difficult to quibble with the virtuosity and the reading...just that the guys and gals from Severance should have ignored their leader and put at least a few ppp's into their recording.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Zhu on November 2, 2003
i've listened to a lot of beethoven (though not as much as some cd collectors), and i have come to the conclusion that this set is definitely one of the best: it has excellent accounts of all nine symphonies, it has great sound for its time, the cleveland orchestra is in its top form, and szell is simply a great beethoven conductor. just name a set and this one will go head to head or better: karajan (63, dg), bohm (dg), toscanini (rca), gardiner, etc. this is how good it is: i have no idea why sony decided it's worthless to me it's worth 100 dollars.
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