Revisit Beethoven CD question [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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08-09-2006, 04:20 PM
A while back Superpanavision inquired about Beethoven on SACD and I read through that, but would like to ask about buying a box set of the complete symphonies. I'm looking for something that is sonically great, as critiques of various interpretations would probably be lost on me. I found the following at a reasonable price ($36): 9 Symphonies, Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic (Deutsche Grammaphon). Is that a preferred selection, sonically speaking? I would also entertain the idea of buying separate symphonies, avoiding the box set, to get the best recordings on the market. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

Dusty Chalk
08-09-2006, 05:17 PM
There's at least two major releases of the entire set of symphonies as done by von Karajan on DG. One is called the "silver" box and one is called the "gold" (due to the color of their boxes).

Quite honestly, I forget which is the prefered. I think it was the gold one. And neither are on SACD, only CD.

I do remember that you can't go wrong with Zinman's cycle.

08-09-2006, 06:02 PM
My experience with DG and Karajan has thus far been to my liking. I can't imagine that you would regret going with one of the box-sets.
That said there are a couple of good hi-rez recordings out there worth owning.
--Beethoven's 5th/6th~Munch/BSO~Living StereoSACD 82876-67898-2
--Beethoven's 5th~Boult/PPOL~Silverline Classics DVDA 288253-9
--Symphonies Nos.5&7~Kleiber/Weiner Phil~DG SACD 471 630-2GSA
--Symphony No.9~Karajan/Berliner~DG SACD 471 640-2GSA

A guy could probably live a long life not hearing the Walter's 5th SACD and not miss anything...

08-09-2006, 06:45 PM
Dusty: Thanks. I looked up the Zinman and it would be cheaper buying his cycle than the Karajan box set. Once I get a good short list, I may let my girlfriend decide since classical music is her specialty.

Bob: Thanks for the heads up. I do plan to go hi-rez on this as soon as I can afford to get the Denon 2910 universal player.

Pat D
08-10-2006, 10:06 AM
As Dusty and bosticks say, the earlier Karajan set (1962) is a safe bet. Everyone seems to like it. The 6th (Pastorale) is played a bit straight--like a symphony rather than a tone poem, but I still like it as an alternative. But a very strong set, the recording quality is very fine, and as you have noted, it's not expensive.

The Penguin Guide likes Zinman a lot, too, among the budget sets.

I rather like Leibowitz/Royal Philharmonic on Chesky, but you have to get the individual CDs and the cost is much higher.