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Thread: Best cheapest Beethoven Sonata Cycle.

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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Default Best cheapest Beethoven Sonata Cycle.

    I'm sure that this has been asked many a time, but I didn't see any threads when I searched so my apologies if I'm beating a dead horse with this one. I looked online at a complete box set of Beethoven's sonatas by Stephen Kovacevich and the thing was nearly $200 which is about $155 out of my price range. So yeah, are there any quality recordings that capture the true emotion, the anger and frustration and tension as well as the beauty withing Beethoven's sonatas for under say $50? I really would like to get a full cycle and go through all of the pieces but I can't justify settling for a less than an amazing recording and sadly I fear that I just simply can not afford such a thing at the moment. We shall see I guess, please feel free to let me know what you're favorite cycle is and what it cost. Thanks.

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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    You really need to drop one of the superlatives. The Naxos Schnabel may be the 'best' compromise.
    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
    - anonymous

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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Yeah, that's what I feared. Thanks for the advice...

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    Senior Member Conor71's Avatar
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    The Gulda set always comes highly recommended on one of the other Classical forums - it can be had for a shade under $50 through Amazon 3rd Party sellers and also comes with the Piano Concertos :



    Link: http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Pian...8179601&sr=1-1

    I have 2 sets of the Sonatas and really not an expert but I think the Barenboim set may be right up your alley although it has its fair share of detractors! - Cost = about $40 on Amazon:



    Link:

    The other set I own is the Kempff - can't say that it's an angsty reading but it is very cheap and well regarded! - cost = $30 or less 3rd Party:



    Link: http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Comp...8180009&sr=1-2
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    Senior Member Vaneyes's Avatar
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    Gulda, Ashkenazy complete, or Gilels incomplete (missing Nos.1, 9, 22, 24, 32).

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    Senior Member kv466's Avatar
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    I'd go with the Gulda, since Gould'a didn't put them all out...still, if you can...get versions of Glenn doing the Tempest and Appasionata at least...you'll never hear them the same...enjoy
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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Schnabel can go down to about $20 on the membran label here in Europe; right now Amazon says 13$. The sound is too poor for it to be the only set to have, probably also for it to be the introductory set for these works, but there are a lot of interesting performances, often very different from today´s performance style. Gilels Beethoven set of selected sonatas and the 5 concerti on Brilliant 7CD (24$ currently) is an extremely good supplement with good sound, his Appassionata there is the most dramatic around, even more than Richter´s old performance at Carnegie Hall. I haven´t heard much of the Gilels DG set which includes many more sonatas and goes for $37, but it seemed somewhat more restrained, if concise and monumental, in the playing. The two sets of Gould playing Beethoven at 20$ each also contain some incredible - and some scandalous - performances; sonatas 30-32 are magical and goes for $4 on a CD there.

    No matter what you buy later on, these will provide a lot of joy, also when comparing them to others - for their individuality and temper.

    I have the complete stereo Kempff (would recommend his No.29) and the early vox complete Brendel (not much of interest as I recall; some of his philips recordings are better though). Barenboim´s early Beethoven emi set doesn´t appeal to me. Also have the complete Kuerti which is sometimes very good (No.17 for instance), sometimes less, but not recommendable as the only set. And have the Gulda set on Amadeo; he plays in a rather linear style, often downplaying contrasts and culminations in the music a bit. It is the same set as issued on Brilliant. The "Waldstein" is one of the best and most interesting there.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Jun-16-2011 at 15:21.
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    Senior Member Iforgotmypassword's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Conor71 View Post


    Thanks a lot for the reccomendations everybody, Ill shop around a little but I'm thinking that I might get this one when I get some money.

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    Senior Member itywltmt's Avatar
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    Can't beat FREE:
    http://public-domain-archive.com/cla...&composer_no=4

    I own the Ashkenazy DECCA re-issue from about six or seven years ago, I think. Budget priced and all very good


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    Senior Member Sofronitsky's Avatar
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    I'd go with Gulda. People say they don't like him but I've never understood that. I watched a TV special of him playing the moonlight sonata once and at the 3rd movement I almost **** my pants. Definitely the most angsty of the cheap sets.

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    Senior Member StlukesguildOhio's Avatar
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    I have the Kempff set which I find to be quite stellar. I also have any number of single discs of performances by Horowitz, Ashkenazy, Gilels, Rubinstein, Pollini, etc... but I am very much looking seriously at this recent release:


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    Senior Member Ukko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StlukesguildOhio View Post
    I have the Kempff set which I find to be quite stellar. I also have any number of single discs of performances by Horowitz, Ashkenazy, Gilels, Rubinstein, Pollini, etc... but I am very much looking seriously at this recent release:

    My reaction to Brendel's Beethoven is odd (though not unique to me). I enjoy it when I hear it, but there is no 'aftertaste'; no emotional echo.
    Experience teaches you to recognize a mistake when you've made it again.
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    Senior Member amfortas's Avatar
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    After quite a while of listening to samples and reading reviews here in this old thread and on Amazon, I've gone with the Gulda complete cycle. Along with the pianist's technical mastery and interpretive zeal, the set offered the best combination of reasonable price, good sound, and numerical ordering of the sonatas (a rarity).

    A very belated thanks to the above posters for their recommendations.
    Alan

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    Senior Member Vasks's Avatar
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    On a slightly related issue, I always thought the Annie Fischer set was permanently OOP, but I see it's listed at MDT. What gives?
    A conductor is a musician who's adept at following many people at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vasks View Post
    On a slightly related issue, I always thought the Annie Fischer set was permanently OOP, but I see it's listed at MDT. What gives?
    I have some of Annie Fischer. A fantastic pianist. Magical!
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