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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies [Box set, Collector's Edition]

Leonard Bernstein , René Kollo , Ludwig van Beethoven , Gwyneth Jones , Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra Audio CD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)

Price: $24.80 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 38 Songs, 2004 $28.49  
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100 Great Symphonies


A musician of unparalleled versatility, Leonard Bernstein achieved worldwide renown in a career spanning nearly five decades - as an inspiring conductor and teacher, as a wide-ranging composer and author, as a gifted pianist.

As composer, he created a body of works extraordinarily diverse in form and style: for example, three symphonies (Jeremiah, The Age of Anxiety and Kaddish) the ... Read more in Amazon's Leonard Bernstein Store

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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies + Rachmaninov: The Symphonies + Mendelssohn: 5 Symphonies, 7 Overtures
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Leonard Bernstein
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (May 11, 2004)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set, Collector's Edition
  • 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: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B0001WGDX0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,767 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 1. Adagio molto - Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 2. Andante cantabile con moto
3. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 3. Menuetto. Allegro molto e vivace
4. Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21: 4. Adagio - Allegro molto e vivace
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 1. Adagio - Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 2. Larghetto
3. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 3. Schrezo. Allegro
4. Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36: 4. Allegro molto
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 1. Allegro con brio
2. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 2. Andante con moto
3. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 3. Allegro
4. Symphony No. 5 in C minor ('Fate'), Op. 67: 4. Allegro
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 1. Poco sostenuto - Vivace
2. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 2. Allegretto
3. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 3. Presto
4. Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92: 4. Allegro con brio
See all 8 tracks on this disc
Disc: 5
1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 1. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 2. Molto vivace
3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 3. Adagio molto e cantabile
4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ('Choral'), Op. 125: 4. Presto

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still One of the Great Beethoven Symphony Cycles December 4, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Critics have accused Leonard Bernstein of being too idiosyncratic in his interpretations, and some have claimed that his later recordings with Deutsche Grammophon were too flamboyant. I tend to disagree, since I have enjoyed listening to his Beethoven and Brahms symphony cycles with the Vienna Philharmonic and virtually all of his Mahler symphony recordings. Bernstein was as comfortable conducting Beethoven as he was with Mozart, Haydn, Mahler, Sibelius, or Copeland, to name but a few. And there were only a handful of orchestras with whom he had a great relationship, of which his partnership with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra surely ranks at the top, perhaps even more so than his critically acclaimed relationship with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra (I might add that he is still remembered by musicians in the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, who regard him as one of the most inspirational conductors with whom they've collaborated with.).

Bernstein's Beethoven symphony recordings were among Deutsche Grammophon's finest recording achievements in the late 1970's. This bargain CD set is thus a tribute not only to Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic, but also to the technical excellence demonstrated by Deutsche Grammophon's producers and recording engineers. My own personal favorites in this cycle are Bernstein's riveting accounts of the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 6th and 7th symphonies (His interpretation of the 5th Symphony is a bit too slow for my taste, and doesn't quite seem nearly as riveting as Carlos Kleiber's electifying account with the Vienna Philharmonic recorded by Deutsche Grammophon a few years earlier.). Althought this is an excellent Beethoven symphony cycle, it will not replace my more recent recordings from Harnoncourt, Zinman and Abbado as my primary recommendations for a Beethoven symphony cycle, but nonetheless, it is an excellent cycle for those interested in hearing the recordings of one of the 20th Century's greatest conductors.
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35 of 40 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly tame Beethoven from a great conductor July 21, 2007
Format:Audio CD
The tameness of this Beethoven cycle from Bernstein and the Vienna Phil. was deliberate, I suspect. The conductor had already made a massive-sounding cycle in New York with the Philharmonic, and he apparently wanted to hear these works slimmed down, fleet, and classically inclined in Vienna. Even understanding the rationale, there are moments when the readings come close to being either tepid or ordinary. The VPO sounds lovely, and DG has improved on the original thin sonics from the LP era. But I can't square these cautious performances with the free-wheeling and inspired Bernstein I love. If you play any single movement side by side with, say, Riccardo Muti's middle-of-the-raod cycle from Philadelphia on a bargain EMI line, it's hard to tell where Muti ends and Bernstein begins. (Joining Muti and Bernstein, another firebrand conductor, Solti, also tended toward tameness when it came to Beethoven.)

I see that the reviewers here are sharply divided between champsions and naysayers. I'm not completey disappointed. The smaller, more graceful symphonies (#1, #2, #4, #8) are the best in the cycle, largely thanks to the orchestra's elegant execution. Of the heroic symphonies, the Fifth is dull, the Eroica and Seventh are better but by no means inspired, and the Ninth comes the closest to making one sit up and take notice. LB made a specialty of this work, but his three official versions don't really capture the magic. This one comes closest, and I much prefer it to the emotional wallow that LB indulged in with his famous "Ode to Freedom" performance at the Berlin Wall after it fell in 1989.

As for the reviewers here who heap superlatives on this set, I can't come close to agreeing, and I am a Bernstein fan par excellence.
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62 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein's Beethoven is the Crown Jewel July 18, 2004
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
This Beethoven set was the first one I purchased many years ago; I "learned" many of the Beethoven symphonies through Lenny and the Vienna Phil. I couldn't have asked for better teachers. Actually, Bernstein is more like a tour guide through the mountains. What he shows you eludes so many other conductors who supposedly rule this terrain.
Bernstein is often overlooked or diminished as a conductor of the standard classical reportoire, but he was often just as brilliant with Mozart or Beethoven as he could be with Mahler or the Americans. Unlike the Sibelius or Elgar recordings from this new Bernstein Edition, his Beethoven set is a great place for anyone to begin with these works, and I still place it toe to toe with any of the other contenders. As for those who already own other DG sets by Karajan, Abbado, or Bohm, or have legendary sets by Szell, Walter, or Furtwangler, give this one a try, especially at the bargain price, and see where Bernstein and the Vienna Philharmonic take you. A word of caution. No journey through Beethoven is perfect, as every set has its mis-steps (some result in total disaster). Bernstein's only flaw here is the Fifth, where he favors a slow and old-fashioned performance. But this is easily remedied: simply buy the Kleiber recording with the same orchestra, also from DG, and you will have years of great performances to relish.
Beethoven's name stands front and center on a golden jewel above the stage in Lenny's old stomping grounds -- Symphony Hall in Boston. Originally, the designers were going to surround Beethoven with the names of other composers, but that never happened; they never reached a concensus on what other names were worthy to be enshrined in this symphonic crown. So, Beethoven remains the sole jewel in the crown. Perhaps no set of Beethoven symphonies deserves similar recognition, because there are so many other great perfomances out there. But Bernstein's Beethoven from Vienna comes pretty damn close.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bad labeling?
This too was not entirely marked as conducted by Leonard Bernstein. Mismatch? Bad labeling?
Published 11 days ago by Scott Stephens
Published 26 days ago by John K. Duegaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Aggressive, modern rendition.
Beautiful stuff. Good first intro to Beethoven's Ninth for classical newbies.
Published 2 months ago by P. Garofalo
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT MUSIC.
Published 6 months ago by Recamecal
5.0 out of 5 stars A great purchase
I received this product rather promptly and in very good condition for which I am very grateful.
I would recommend this product to everyone!
Published 7 months ago by white knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Great collection all in one set
If you love Beethoven and Bernstein, this is a perfect collection to buy. What else can one say about awesome?
Published 7 months ago by beachbum61
4.0 out of 5 stars Good orchestra, good conductor.
The symphonies are technically nearly flawless. Good quality recordings. While not the most emotive performances of the Beethoven symphonies Bernstein has done, these are pretty... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Chris Garlich
5.0 out of 5 stars Bernstein....
What else can i ask for. The New Yorker. The classic, the perfect collection you must have! Its mighty Bernstein!
Published 8 months ago by A. Lai
2.0 out of 5 stars poor sound quality
I love both Bernstein and Beethoven. However, I found these recordings lacking. I have the Beethoven 5th conducted by Bernstein and found it quite satisfying. Read more
Published 8 months ago by david vowell
5.0 out of 5 stars The music is beautful to listen to either full sound or softly in the...
I thoroughly enjoyed the music and of course the composer. I love the different symphonies and the way in which they were played. It definately meet with my expectiations.
Published 8 months ago by Gary D. Greely
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Topic From this Discussion
Third movement of the Pastoral
That was a scare. I didn't see any warning notice, but, luckily, my set is fine.
Apr 15, 2011 by Patricia H. Parker |  See all 2 posts
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