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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies Box set, Collector's Edition
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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies (5 CD's)
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Media Type: CD
Title: SYM 9
Street Release Date: 05/11/2004
Genre: CLASSICAL COMPOSERS
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I listen to CD's with wireless earphones off a Bose sound system. It just doesn't get any better than this. Read morePublished 1 month ago by R. Dale Woosley
I heard Leonard Bernstein conducting a Vienna Philharmonic performance of one of Beethoven's symphonies.at Wolf Trap Park in northern Virginia more than 25 years ago. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Don
Leonard Berstein and Herbert Von Karajan, two of my favorite conductors with very different styles, both with very different but excellent interpretations of Beethoven's symphonies... Read morePublished 6 months ago by ejr1953
This is Bernsteins fault, not Amazon. 7th Symphony should be about 44 minutes, not 39. Bernsteins pace is too fast and it ruins the symphony frankly. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dennis Herrington
I'm enjoying listening to the 9th as presented by several artists. I love Bernstein and was an idol of mine when I was growing up, but the 9th's 3 movement is plodding. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Patrick Nevis
I was expecting more.
In general, I think Bernstein is one of the truly great conductors of the past 100 years, but something in this set simply doesn't clcik for me. Read more