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Symphonies 1-9 Box set, Import

4.5 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Import, September 7, 2006
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Symphony No.1 In C Major, Op.21
  2. Symphony No.3 In E Flat Major, Op.55 'Heroic'
  3. Promethe, Op.43
  4. Symphony No.2 In D Major, Op.36
  5. Symphony No.4 In B Flat Major, Op.60
  6. Egmont Overture
  7. Symphony No.5 In C Minor, Op.67
  8. Symphony No.7 In A Major, Op.92
  9. Fidelio, Op.72b
  10. Symphony No.6 In F Major, Op.68 'Pastorale'
  11. Symphony No.8 In F Major, Op.92
  12. Symphony No.9 In E Minor, Op.125 'Chorale'


Product Details

  • Performer: Gré Brouwenstijn, Nicolai Gedda
  • Orchestra: Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: André Cluytens
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (September 7, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 5
  • Format: Box set, Import
  • 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: EMI Classics France
  • ASIN: B000FOTHC8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #130,977 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
For decades, I have considered this set, along with Konwitschny's, to be one of the two best ever recorded; and here is why:

Both sets wear better with each successive hearing, and both are monumental and devoid of mannerisms, or of any pretenses or straining for effects. Furthermore, unlike either of the 1950's & 1960's Karajan sets (first with the Philharmonia, and then with the Berlin Phil.), both the Cluytens and the Konwitschny sets communicate the humanity and warmth of Beethoven, and aren't at all steely cold.

Cluytens in this set introduced himself to the world as an astounding Beethoven conductor, after a career which had previously focused upon French music. This Belgian conductor had unfortunately become typecast as French because he built his career in Paris, but then in the 1950's he conducted several times at Bayreuth, and soon became recognized as a very great conductor of German music. EMI's Walter Legge had discovered him (along with Karajan and Klemperer) right after WWII, and mistakenly categorized him as EMI's French specialist, but after Cluytens's recognition at Bayreuth, Legge rectified his error by commissioning Cluytens to do this complete Beethoven set. Unlike with Karajan and Klemperer, whose EMI/Angel sets were performed with Legge's own Philharmonia Orchestra, Cluytens was granted to perform these symphonies with the world's greatest orchestra at the time, the Berlin Philharmonic. This was before Karajan had had the opportunity to transform this orchestra (after being named in 1956 as the Berlin Phil.'s permanent conductor) into the sleek hard machine they subsequently became. Under Cluytens, they were still the orchestra of Artur Nikisch and Wilhelm Furtwangler, with a deep, resonant and somber tone, which was perfect for Beethoven.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This recording is both technically and artistically WONDERFUL. Beethovian power is pounding out in the room, and everything in your mind may be changed to just want to eternally listen to these wonderful recordings. I was stunned, and I realized why I became a dedicated fan to classical music after I first heard the Cluytens recording of the 5th and 8th symphony when I was a boy. This is THE music, THE life in the music. STRONGLY RECOMMENDED. - And the price is simply so low, you won't believe, that it is possible to get such marvelous music to that price!!!
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i add my enthusiastic agreement with the consensus superlatives lavished on this recording cycle. the most direct way to say it: i own the complete beethoven cycles by karajan, klemperer, szell, bohm, harnoncourt, hogwood, gardiner, vanska, abbado, and what's available from furtwangler and kleiber ... and the cluytens set is irreplaceable and indispensible. it's the kind of performance that you listen to after a long interval with the immediate recognition that it sounds better than you remember -- or perhaps i mean better every time.

rank recordings however you will along the dimensions of historical accuracy, conductor stylization, sonic excellence or orchestral virtuosity, and what comes through most directly with this cluytens set is the kind of sheer human exuberance, musical pleasure and heartfelt performance commitment that makes history irrelevant, stylization unthinkable, virtuosity subservient and sound ... well, the sound on this recording is excellent. strings, brass, winds are delicately separated on the sound stage, and the full dynamic and pitch range is presented without distortion, remarkable for recordings made in 1957-60.

if i had to choose one keyword for this performance, it would be "operatic". the music reacts and declaims with a kind of verdian passion, color and nimbleness, the tempos well match the breath of the musical themes, melodies are shaped with a declamatory poignancy and dramatic perfection -- but everything is (to my ear) well within the acceptable bounds of classical style.
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Format: Audio CD
What were the copyright holders thinking? This is a conductor and the Berlin Philharmonic at their finest. Classical Beethoven as it should be. Hidden away for so long that it never even made the guidebooks to classical music. Thankfully, the set is out of the closet and on the market. Overall quality and sound are superb. But buy it, before some short circuited executive retires it yet again.
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There is an earlier release of the Cluytens' complete Beethoven symphonies, which is available on Amazon for about four times the price of this one, and which I also reviewed from a somewhat monetary perspective. Decide for yourself which one to pick, but be assured that it is the same recording.
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I don't think anyone should have only one version of the Beethoven 9. It just wouldn't be fair to the listener. I have the 60s Karajan, Harnoncourt, Haitink, Wand, Norrington, Zinman and certain selections from Vanska(9th), Kleiber (5 & 7), just to let you know. I share my time with all of them and each brings about an enjoyable experience. The only reason for me buying the Cluytens set is because I read the eight reviews that precede mine. I waited seven weeks to receive it. Was it worth it? Very definitely YES!. Generally, these performances are a little slower. The number 8 is slower, likewise 7. However, in listening to these performances (all with great sound) there are times when you don't want to just skip over the notes as in some cases but surround each note and appreciate its delicacy. Like the true romantic Cluytens reigns in the energy of the piece until he gets to the end and then lets the horses go. This is evident in the third, the fifth and the ninth. The conductor makes the lesser appreciated symphonies 2,4 and 6 seem like it is the first time you have heard them. I don't mean to demean the thoughts of those who feel the previously mentioned symphonies are the best of the lot. The orchestra is truly splendid. It seems like you are sitting in the middle of the cellos. Awesome! EMI France has done a great job in remastering the sound. This conductor gives us a little different view of the nine symphonies and I heartily recommend their purchase. It won't be long before they will be unattainable. The price is incredibly low.
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