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Thread: Which Beethoven cycle(s) do YOU own?

  1. #61
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    @realdealblues you should change your name to realdealinformativeposter. Thanks your very detailed posts! Very helpful!

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  3. #62
    Senior Member realdealblues's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDs View Post
    @realdealblues you should change your name to realdealinformativeposter. Thanks your very detailed posts! Very helpful!
    Haha. Thank you for the kind words. I'm glad if anything I say is of help. I know plenty of members who disagree with me on many things. We all have our own ears, but Beethoven's Symphonies have always fascinated me and I've done so much comparative listening that most people think I am nuts.

    I often don't just listen to these cycles once and decide, but half a dozen or a dozen times before making a final verdict on whether to keep it or whether it falls inline with my line of thinking and what I want to hear. Sometimes I do that over several years just to see if it grows on me or after a time if I hear things differently. That's a lot of the fun to me in listening. I like to hear all the different ways a work can be interpreted and decide what I like best and I do that constantly with the works I really love and like I said before I'm really an orchestral work guy. Symphonies, and Piano Concertos dominate my listening along with Solo Piano Works. I also listen to Violin Concerto's etc. but from Bach to Mahler is pretty much where most of my listening occurs.

    But I'm always happy to make any comments or recommendations on anything I am familiar with and have done extensive listening with.

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  5. #63
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realdealblues View Post

    When pressed to pick specifics, Wand is my overall favorite for a complete cycle. If I want sharp, discipline then I pull out Szell or Toscanini. If I want to hear the Czech Philharmonic with their unique sound I reach for Kletzki or the Dresden Winds with first class playing I reach for Blomstedt. If I want to hear fast Beethoven (metronome markings) then you can't get better than Chailly in my opinion. For a granite moving mountain I dig out Klemperer. Bohm is there for the fine Viennese playing and majestic quality. Walter is full of joy and love, Bernstein is full of excitement and wonder, Karajan is full of power and beautiful strings. Kubelik was a genius of the podium and his cycle with 9 different orchestras is a must hear. I have enough variety that I am happy.
    What an excellent summary. Although I have a few different views I totally agree with these sentiments. I thought I had about 20 sets on disc but after a quick count, before, I reckon there's at least 30+ full sets and some partial sets. Of the rest I have about 90% of the recorded complete cycles on my hard drive (I'll count them up one of these days).
    Of the ones I still want to hear fully (because I have only partial sets or no recordings) I still need to get full cycles of:

    Asahina (Exton set)
    Nelson
    Jordan
    Lombard
    Iimori
    Georgescu
    Tilson-Thomas (have half set)
    Albrecht (have half set)
    Polizzi
    Tamas
    Kakhidze
    Nanut (have half a set)
    Van Zweden
    Kuhn

    And realdealblues is bang-on with his assessment of Kubelik's set. I love it too. One of my faves. Wise words!

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  7. #64
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double post but I just wanted to add something in the way realdealblues did so eloquently.

    If I was asked what my favourite cycle was (at the moment, it's always changing) based on consistency I'd probably go for Kubelik (but on another week it could be Szell, Mackerras, Wand or Blomstedt). He may use 9 different orchestras but with each performance he draws the very best from his players. A truly wonderful set! If I want traditional big-sounding Beethoven I can't get past Blomstedt's (dirt cheap) fabulous set. If I want to hear something unique or quirky I might plump for Pletnev, Scherchen or Norrington (Hannsler). If I want to hear fast Beethoven then I agree that Chailly's set is a killer (the orchestral playing is superb) but if I want a true HIP hit then I go for Immerseel (there's something about that set that I find so appealing). I love Bohm's Germanic qualities and Karajan is powerful, forthright and a true benchmark. For excitement Solti's set is hard to beat and Tremblay's orchestra has youthful exuberance in abundance. If I want a mastery of rhythm I turn to Gardiner and for delicacy and beauty I reach for Jansons. If I want spectacular sound quality then I go for Rattle (BPO), Barenboim (Berlin) and Chailly (again), who sound so impressive with the volume up.

    As i said, I may have a lot of Beethoven sets but I'm still making my way through them, revisting them and finding my tastes changing on a daily basis. It's just so wonderful that there are so many different ways to listen this music.

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  9. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDs View Post
    @realdealblues you should change your name to realdealinformativeposter. Thanks your very detailed posts! Very helpful!
    And keeping the Saturday symphony tradition alive I might add.

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  11. #66
    Member NorthernHarrier's Avatar
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    I own the Sony cycle with George Szell.

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  13. #67
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    Came across this New York Times article from 1990 discussing which Karajan Beethoven Symphony cycle is the best. Interesting read.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/18/ar...pagewanted=all

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  15. #68
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    None. I haven't found the perfect box yet. A few come close. Cherry pickin' generally rules.
    Last edited by Vaneyes; May-25-2017 at 18:35.

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  17. #69
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I don't think it is possible to have the 'perfect' box. What many of us go for is a most consistent box that sounds like the versions in our head. I always find it so interesting that so many people have such different views. Some like the grandeur, some love HIP and some like traditional Germanic type readings or pacey blasts thru the repertoire.

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  19. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDs View Post
    Came across this New York Times article from 1990 discussing which Karajan Beethoven Symphony cycle is the best. Interesting read.

    http://www.nytimes.com/1990/03/18/ar...pagewanted=all

    27 years later, still some valid thought. With possible exception of LvB 8, I've always thought the HvK 80's set was a throwaway. Too, I don't hear much of interest in his mono and EMI cycle. 60's and 70's sets present terrific cherry pickin'. That said, one can probably find better Nos. 1, 2, 4, 7, 8 elsewhere. His 9s are uniformly fine, though I prefer Solti '72 for some quirkiness. HvK's 3 (60's), 5 & 6 (70's) are wunderbar.

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  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    I don't think it is possible to have the 'perfect' box. What many of us go for is a most consistent box that sounds like the versions in our head. I always find it so interesting that so many people have such different views. Some like the grandeur, some love HIP and some like traditional Germanic type readings or pacey blasts thru the repertoire.
    Nos. 1 & 2 need a lighter, jauntier approach. One must also be careful with the mustard in 4, 7, 8. LvB was a great mixer-upper, which makes Bruno Walter's so attractive.

  22. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by NorthernHarrier View Post
    I own the Sony cycle with George Szell.
    Musical, and keeps it moving. However, I think Szell hits his peak with the Overtures. IMO noone betters him there.
    His symphonies are a little too centrist for me, as with Mackerras and others.

  23. #73
    Senior Member Heliogabo's Avatar
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    I have (and aquired in this order): Karajan (63), Bernstein (Sony), Rattle (Emi), Gardiner, and recently ordered Furtwangler.

  24. #74
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    I picked up some Bernstein Century cds at the Goodwill. The Beethoven Symphonies are with NYPO remastered from the 50's and 60's. The 9th was blah, the 6th very good and some others good.

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  26. #75
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    Not that I needed another set but I just picked up Szell's budget set on Sony Classical.
    Hopefully in a few days I'll be adding Karajan '63 cycle as well (the 5 CD/1 blu ray set).

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