Beethoven boxed set - 60 CDs - for Euro 39

Discussion in 'Music' started by Dennis Nicholls, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    This is all Cees' fault..... [​IMG]

    Amazon.de is selling a new boxed set of the major Beethoven works on 60 CDs for the price of something like Euro 39. I've been waiting for this to pop up on US Amazon but it never has. Perhaps it's some kind of licensing restriction. When ordered from the US, my checkout listed the price (sans VAT?) as Euro 33.59 with Euro 14.00 shipping and handling. Today's price conversion would be $64.70 US. That's barely a dollar a disc shipped all the way from Germany.

    Anyway here's the link: www.amazon.de/gp/product/B000NDEMAI

    I just ordered this set pre-release. The release date is given as 28 April 2007. I have not heard any of the performances, but most are given by David Zinman with the Zurich Tonhalle orchestra. The Penguin Guide gave his symphony cycle a "rosette", the only one ever given to a Beethoven symphony cycle, so I am most hopeful for the quality of this set.

    [​IMG]

    Inhalt

    Discs 1-5: Die 9 Sinfonien (Tonhalle Orchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Discs 6-7: Ouvertüren (Tonhalle Orchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Disc 8: Die Geschöpfe des Prometheus op. 43 (Ballettmusik) (Litauische Kammerphilharmonie/Karl Anton Rickenbacher
    Disc 9 Orchester-,Klavier-, Flöten und Violinwerke
    Discs 10-12: Die 5 Klavierkonzerte (Yefim Bronfman/Tonhalle Orchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Disc 13: Violinkonzert op. 61 + Die 2 Violinromanzen op. 40+50 (Christian Tetzlaff/Tonhalleorchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Disc 14: Tripelkonzert op. 56; Septett op. 20 (Yefim Bronfman/Tonhalle Orchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Discs 15-18: Die 10 Violinsonaten (Pinchas Zukerman/George Neikrug)
    Discs 19-20: Die 5 Cellosonaten + Variationen (Anner Bylsma/Jos van Immerseel)
    Discs 21-25: Die 12 Klaviertrios (Seraphin Trio)
    Disc 26: Die Streichtrios op. 3 und op. 8 (L’Archibudelli
    Disc 27: Die Streichtrios op. 9,1-3 (Kandinsky String Trio)
    Disc 28: Klavierquartett op. 16 (Streicherfassung); Klavierquintett op. 16 (Bläserfassung) (Emanuel Ax/Isaac Stern/ Jaime Lardo/YoYo Ma/Ensemble Wien-Berlin)
    Disc 29: Kammermusik für Streicher und Holzbläser (L’Archibudelli)
    Disc 30: Oktett op. 103 / Klarinettensextett op. 71 / Märsche für Bäser, u.a. (Mozzafiato)
    Discs 31-39: Die 16 Streichquartette (Alexander String Quartet)
    Discs 40-50: Die 32 Klaviersonaten (Yukio Yokoyama, Charles Rosen, Vladimir Horowitz, Justus Frantz, Gerhard Oppitz, Robert Casadesus)
    Disc 51: Die Bagatellen für Klavier Solo (Yukio Yokoyama)
    Disc 52: Die Variationen für Klavier Solo (Yukio Yokoyama)
    Disc 53: Diabelli-Variationen + 4 Klavierstücke WoO (Olli Mustonen)
    Disc 54: Lieder von den Britischen Inseln (Elaine Woods/Carolyn Watkinson/Richard Salter/Helmut Deutsch)
    Disc 55: Christus am Ölberge op. 85 (Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy)
    Disc 56: Messe op. 86 (Tokyo Oratorio Society/Ensemble of Tokyo/Wolfdieter Maurer)
    Disc 57: Missa Solemnis op. 123 (Tonhalle Orchester Zürich/David Zinman)
    Disc 58: Chorwerke (Regine Crespin/ New York Philharmonic Orchestra/Thomas Schippers, Ambrosian Opera Chorus/ London Symphony Orchestra/Tilson Thomas Martina Arroyo/ Justine Diaz/ Camerata Singers)
    Discs 59-60: Fidelio op. 72 (Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/Kurt Masur)
     
  2. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Come to think of it, I'm really glad to be getting a Fidelio (of all works!) done in Leipzig by Kurt Masur, a real hero of the liberation of East Germany back in 1989.
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Note that this is a Sony release, not Brilliant Classics (the company that puts out most of those other huge "Masterworks" sets).

    The price is certainly right!
     
  4. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    There's a thread around here for the Hanssler set of JS Bach, which had a budget release on BMS ("Bohemian Music Service") a couple of years ago. With shipping from Germany it came to about $180 US. You can still buy it on Amazon US but it's now about $2K. [​IMG]

    Most of this new Sony Beethoven set appears to be new recordings with the exception of the piano sonata cycle. Guys like Horowitz and Casadesus aren't exactly on tour nowadays.
     
  5. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Yeesh. The Brilliant Classics complete Bach (155 CDs) can be had for under $100, and has a pretty good rep.
     
  6. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Mine shipped today.

    I expect it (accounting for the weekend) five days from now.
    I'll let you know my first impression (cannot promise to listen to all discs within a week [​IMG] ).


    Dennis, great info about that price without VAT. I hoped it would work like that. And you're right: VAT is 19%.

    Because I do the reverse ordering all the time (get almost all of my DVDs, several books and some CDs from the US), I can tell you that it will probably take about 10 days (hardly ever less) to get the package - unless something happens at customs (or whatever subversive group inspecting your shipment [​IMG] ). Assuming you took default shipment method, that is.


    Cees
     
  7. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    It has arrived. Eight days from order date. Deutsche Luftpost isn't too slow.

    First up: the greatest symphonic work ever written, Symphony 7 in A major opus 92.
     
  8. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Oh dear....

    This Zinman performance is very different. According to the Penguin Guide, "the first modern-instrument cycle to use the new edition prepared by Jonathan Del Mar, with important modifications in the text. Zinman also allows a degree of ornamentation beyond convention."

    The orchestral tuttis in the first movement recap are much shorter than is the norm. But in the first movement recap of the second theme, the oboe breaks out into a cadenza. [​IMG] In the second movement, many of the woodwinds are permitted grace notes.

    This is going to take a lot of thought on my part. It's a very fresh viewpoint.

    Sound is excellent for redbook. I own two SACD versions of the 7th, the Carlos Kleiber/Vienna version and the Herbey/Berlin version. The Zinman version stands with them on sound quality. I can only imagine how good the alternate Zinman SACD version is going to sound.
     
  9. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Next up: the Alexander Quartet playing the 3rd Rasumovsky Quartet, opus 59 no. 3.
     
  10. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    The Alexander's are quite good. I still prefer my old copy of the Guarnari Quartet playing this music, but it's only a detail preference.

    Next up: The Waldstein piano sontata, opus 53 in C Major, played by Vlad "the impaler" Horowitz.
     
  11. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Since the piano sonatas are recorded by numerous pianists, I thought I should give the following liner notes to show which pianist plays which sonata.

    1 Yukio Yokoyama
    2 Robert Casadesus
    3/4/5/6/7 Yokoyama
    8 Justus Frantz
    9/10/11/12/13 Yokoyama
    14 Frantz
    15 Gerhard Oppitz
    16 Yokoyama
    17 Oppitz
    18/19/20 Yokoyama
    21 Vladimir Horowitz
    22 Yokoyama
    23 Frantz
    24 Casadesus
    25 Yokoyama
    26 Oppitz
    27/28/29/30/31/32 Charles Rosen
     
  12. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Well Horowitz is too high strung for my taste. I much prefer Alfred Brendel in this music. I wonder why they dredged up this single Horowitz recording (from 1956?).
     
  13. andrew markworthy

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    Although I am a great admirer of Horowitz, I fear he came unstuck on some of the more 'cerebral' composers such as Ludwig van B. I suspect his contribution was added to add lustre, as many of the artists in the set are not terribly well known.

    I've got all the Beethoven recordings I want (FWIW: the Emerson Quartet for the Quartets; Pollini for the piano concerti; Gilels for as many of the piano sonatas as he recorded, and an assortment for the rest; Gardiner for the symphonies; Mutter for the violin sonatas). However, looking at the set I'd say this was a great collection for someone coming into classical music and I'm sure that if you are an ardent music listener (I'm not particularly these days) then there will be unexpected treasures to be found. My personal experience, having had great pleasure from the Naxos series, is that many supposed 'budget' recordings with unknown artists can be a joy and delight. The recordings are often done v. simply with little editing, thereby creating a fresher sound and the artists are often just as technically proficient as the supposed 'greats' but lack the affectations that can annoy.
     
  14. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Andrew,
    I have multiple sets of much of Beethoven, but I still got a lot out of this set. For various reasons I had never bought a set of the opus 18 quartets, the "schlep-tet", and many other works. Same with the opus 86 mass and many other "minor" works. This set was glorious "filler" collection if nothing more....and it is more.

    Horowitz should go back to Listz and Rachmaninof. He just doesn't "get" Beethoven.

    But the Charles Rosen performances of the later sonatas are thought-provoking, if not definative. I've spent a lot of time with Schnabel and Brendel, and Rosen does have something thoughtful to say.


    Have you sampled the Hanssler JS Bach or the Brilliant Classics Mozart sets? Both are an amazing value.
     
  15. Mark Zimmer

    Mark Zimmer Producer

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    What exactly are the contents of disc 54? I have numerous versions of everything else, but there are a couple of the British folk songs that have never received complete recordings and I'd jump on the opportunity to fill in those holes. And is that listing correct---there are no German lieder included at all?
     
  16. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Oy veh...my fingers.

    DISC 54

    Music, love, and wine
    Bonny Laddie, highland Lassie
    I'll praise the saints
    Sally in our alley
    Sunset
    Faithfu' Johnie
    Behold, my love
    His boat comes on the sunny tide
    Enchantress, farewell
    The pulse of an Irishman
    To the Aeolian Harp
    O Charlie is my darling
    Duncan Gray
    To the blackbird
    'Tis sunshine at last
    Cease your funning
    Oh sweet were the hours
    Save me from the grave and wise
    Farewell bliss and farewell Nancy
    Love without hope
    Farewell thou noisy town
    He promis'd me at parting
    The monks of Bangor's March
    Robin Adair
    O swiftly glides the bonny boat
    Sad and luckless was the season
    Come draw we round a cheerful ring
    The sweetest lad was Jamie
    Come, fill my good fellow
     
  17. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    DISC 58

    Ah perfideo (opus 65)
    Cantata on the Death of Emperor Joseph II (WoO 87)
    Bundeslied in C major (opus 122)
     
  18. Dennis Nicholls

    Dennis Nicholls Lead Actor

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    Mark,

    Did you want lieder-hosen or lederhosen?

    [​IMG]
     
  19. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    [​IMG]


    I have to admit that my box is still wrapped up. Lots of reasons, all leading to no evening really being actually present or else "susceptible" to start listening to some music.

    I'm still very glad owning these sets. No more of those agonizing minutes at the record shop, when you hold a slightly less loved piece, hesitate, turn it around, hesitate again, sometimes even listen to some of it with earphones on, find the price too high after all (as in: price/satisfaction relation). Or buy it anyway and almost never listen to it again later.

    From now on it will only be necessary to contemplate purchasing really exquisite/outstanding recordings. No-brainers.


    Cees
     
  20. andrew markworthy

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    I've got bits of the Brilliant Mozart, and I agree, they are superb. Often I find that the simple approach is the best in Mozart. Many of the 'big names' mistakenly think that unless they put their personal interpretive mark on the music, then they've 'failed' whereas with Mozart above all other composers, it's usually best just to play exactly what's written in the score. The Brilliant recordings (at least the ones I've heard) are generally fairly 'vanilla', but that is exactly what's needed. However, I've not heard the complete set (indeed, I didn't know there was such a beast).

    What are the Brilliant recordings of the piano concerti like, please? I've got the Perahia recordings on Sony, which are good, but I personally have never been happy with the slight echoing 'bloom' around the recording (particularly the piano). I'm also not keen on the period instrument recordings. I generally like period instrument Mozart, but period instrument piano is a big personal turn-off, I'm afraid.
     

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