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Beethoven:The Symphonies Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, December 27, 2011
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Product Details

  • Performer: Annette Dasch, Mihoku Fujimura, Piotr Beczala, Georg Zeppenfeld
  • Orchestra: Wiener Philharmoniker
  • Conductor: Christian Thielemann
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (December 27, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • 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.
  • ASIN: B005D4Y522
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #230,214 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

2012 seven disc (six CDs + DVD) set. Christian Thielemann and the Vienna Philharmonic devoted an entire concert series in Vienna's famous Golden Hall between 2008 and 2010 to the complete symphonies of Ludwig van Beethoven. The audience and critics alike were delighted by Thielemann's new interpretation, and now Sony Classical proudly releases this concert event in a deluxe box set. The special Limited edition set contains six CDs plus the bonus DVD, Making van Beethoven, which documents the recording process and includes interviews with Thielemann and the orchestra. This handsome package also contains a hard-cover book with deluxe linen covering and liner notes by University of Cambridge professor Timothy C.W. Blanning.

Customer Reviews

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See all 7 customer reviews
Altogether this is a fabulous Fifth, one of monumental impetus and excitement.
Stephen Midgley
For me, Thielemann's Beethoven sounds consistently fresh and exploratory infused with a genuine desire to rediscover the music as it is being played.
Ralph Moore
The packaging is high-end, but this set measures up to the recent Chailly only in that respect.
J. K. Davis MD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
It is clear to me that anyone who accuses Thielemann of being a dull in this Beethoven cycle has either not listened to the Allegro con brio of the first movement of the Second Symphony, or not listened properly, or has no ears to hear. To get the proper measure of this set, start there. It is one of the most joyous, released and sheerly infectious accounts I have ever heard, full of drive, impish wit and manic ecstasy. The orchestra is obviously having a high old time. As the DVD amply illustrates, they love playing for Thielemann and are clearly of the opinion that anyone who wants etiolated string-tone, vibrato-free whining and clipped phrasing can go and stick his head in a bucket. The fiddles of the Vienna Philharmonic slither around like a greased porker at a hog roast before easing into the ensuing Larghetto with the utmost suavity. It is equally apparent that the paying public seated in the splendidly named Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde knows what it wants to hear, too - and they got it in this series of the complete symphonies recorded in numerical sequence between December 2008 and April 2010.

I find it scandalously incomprehensible that the music critic of a major broadsheet should recently have complained that the clarity of these live recordings "only highlight[s] the swagger and occasional coarseness of the playing of the Vienna Philharmonic, confirming its status as the world's most overrated orchestra." He is clearly in thrall to an entirely different musical aesthetic from the conductor, the orchestra, the audience and all those who have greeted these performances so enthusiastically. We really are at a cultural crossroads if such a glorious interpretation may be derided with impunity by a major commentator.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By James A. Cronin on February 20, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Christian Thielemann and the Wiener Philharmoniker have created between them a new way of hearing the Beethoven Symphonies. While the approach may sound radical to those used to Klemperer, Bernstein and others, it is a revolutionary and deeply creative effort. First, in listening to these recordings, one can hear every section of the orchestra with complete clarity, in perfect balance, one not overriding the other, and with the greatest sensitivity to the rich tones of which each instrument and orchestral section is capable. I've not heard anything like this in any other recording, which now seem muddy and heavy handed by comparison. Thielemann himself explains his approach in the accompanying DVD as combining what's been learned through hearing what are now traditional approaches to Beethoven's music with the newer tradition to attempt to hear what Beethoven might have intended the symphonies to sound like by the use of period instruments (such as was done by Christopher Hogwood and the Academy of Ancient Music). He certainly takes liberties with traditional tempi and other aspects of the symphonies, but in doing so, forces us to listen more closely to their incredible richness. As an example, the lyrical feeling brought to the third movement of the Ninth Symphony was so astonishing, I had to listen to it twice the first time I played it. And the choir in the fourth movement achieves a power that will knock you down. Run, do not walk, to the nearest classical music outlet for these symphonies.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Midgley on April 8, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I'll come right out and say straight away that I'm no expert on the symphonies of the great man, because nowadays I spend far more of my musical hours listening to renaissance and baroque music than to this new-fangled 19th-century stuff. But, as a young chap a few years back, I was brought up on Beethoven, mainly through recordings from such as Furtwängler, Klemperer, Karajan, and later also Carlos Kleiber and Harnoncourt for some of the individual symphonies. So I can't lay claim to the kind of knowledge about the vast range of available recordings enjoyed by some other reviewers, and least of all to any ability to draw comparisons with other recent sets; I simply judge this recording on its merits as I hear them.

That said, I think Thielemann's set is absolutely terrific. I like the conductor's approach to Beethoven, he has plenty to say about the music, and his individual touches and eccentricities - portamenti, rallentandi, dynamic variations and the like - always feel as if they arise naturally from the music itself, rather than being imposed upon it. Gentle, subtle and lyrical where appropriate, he and his players are just as good at conveying the furious energy of the great revolutionary, and there's certainly no way you would get bored listening to this set. The Wiener Philharmoniker are a wonderful orchestra and the sound they make is quite splendid, as is the recording quality. The ambience of these live recordings adds feeling and atmosphere to the proceedings, with ambient noise noticeable before and between movements - musicians shifting and preparing, instruments being positioned, a few chairs creaking, the evident presence of an extremely well-behaved Vienna audience - but with no disturbance or noticeable disadvantages whatever.
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10 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Michel Corbeil on January 29, 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Avec Christian Thielemann, c'est le romantisme... même avec Beethoven. Donc des tempos qui rappelent Furtvangler et klemperer. Ici, on est loin des interprétations baroques. Avec l'orchestre de Vienne, on est en présence de la meilleure orchestre au monde et ça se sent. Assurément, l'un des plus beaux enregistrements des 9 symphonies de Beethoven de tous les temps !
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