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Beethoven Edition - Complete Works


Release Date: 10/09/2007 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 93525   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Theo AdamAnna Tomowa-SintowAnnelies BurmeisterPeter Schreier,   ... 
Conductor:  Kurt MasurBernard HaitinkHorst SteinSir Colin Davis,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus OrchestraLeipzig Radio ChorusDresden Philharmonic Children's Chorus,   ... 
Number of Discs: 85 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

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Although 2007 marks no milestone birthdate or deathdate on Beethoven's timeline, that hasn't stopped record companies from hauling out super-budget boxed sets devoted to the composer. Early in the year EMI brought out a 50-disc Collectors Edition, trumped by Sony BMG's promise of a 60-disc "Masterworks" collection. Not to be outdone, Cascade offered Beethoven's integral works on 87 discs. Enter Brilliant Classics, whose complete Beethoven box weighs in at 85 discs with room to spare.

The label has cast its licensing tentacles far and wide, embracing famous names and unknowns alike while filling repertoire gaps
Read more with new recordings made especially for this project. A substantial portion of the material derives from the Universal Classics family of labels. Friedrich Gulda's thrilling, sometimes iconoclastic late-1960s Piano Sonata cycle appears alongside the pianist's less consistent though never uninteresting collaborations with Horst Stein and the Vienna Philharmonic in the five piano concertos. Alfred Brendel's early Vox Diabelli Variations is musically and sonically inferior to his more mature Philips remakes, while an entire disc of keyboard miscellany (including the rabble-rousing G minor Fantasia Op. 77) features lean-toned, gutsy playing from one Georg Friedrich Schenck.

You can do worse than the sometimes underplayed (Nos. 3, 5, 7, and 9) yet never less than solid 1974 Masur/Leipzig symphonies cycle, where Nos. 1, 2, 4, and 8 particularly attract attention. Not only do the classic mono Grumiaux/Haskil Violin Sonata encounters from Philips still sonically hold their own, but they also tower above each of that label's subsequent stereo versions. The Guarneri's 1987-92 Beethoven quartet cycle always impressed me for its vitality, sharply honed linear interplay, and warm engineering.

Was a Philips Missa solemnis a must? If so, I would have recommended Jochum's heartfelt, robustly engineered version over the later and cooler Colin Davis traversal here. Similarly, why the clean yet faceless Szeryng/Haitink Violin Concerto instead of the more involved Grumiaux/Galleria? Yet collectors who searched far and wide for Heinrich Schiff's 1998 Cello Sonatas now can bask in this great artist's extraordinary finesse and musical intelligence.

Should you prefer Beethoven piano trios on the flexible, roomy side, the Borodin Trio's 1984 Chandos cycle will suit your metabolism. Other chamber works both hit and miss, performance-wise. For example, the Zurich String Trio ranges from mousy (Op. 3) to more on the ball (the Op. 9 trios); Anthony Goldstone and the Cummings Trio are turgid and poorly balanced in the three Piano Quartets; while the Septet falls into the beguiling, graceful hands of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Chamber Ensemble. Among shorter orchestral fare, the Zinman/Rochester Creatures of Prometheus incidental music and the Skrowaczewski/Minnesota survey of overtures deserve special mention.

It's good to be able to access Beethoven's operatic odyssey with the original Leonore (Blomstedt) and rewrite Fidelio (Dohnanyi) back-to-back, and well cast. The young Peter Schreier (vintage 1968-1970) is on hand for most of the art songs. And let's not forget those piles upon piles of folksong arrangements Beethoven churned out for quick cash, cobbled together here from both older and newly recorded sources. Minor Beethoven, true, but with some major moments, like the Auld Lang Syne arrangement's oddball twists and turns of phrase and harmony (why don't we ever hear that on New Year's Eve?).

In lieu of a booklet, a CD-ROM contains all texts, annotations, and translations. Considering its high overall quality, completeness factor, and absurdly cheap asking price at around a buck and a half per disc, the Brilliant Classics Complete Beethoven Edition sells itself.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Complete Works by Ludwig van Beethoven
2.
Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
3.
Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Theo Adam (Bass), Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Soprano), Annelies Burmeister (Mezzo Soprano),
Peter Schreier (Tenor)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Dresden Philharmonic Children's Chorus,  Berlin Radio Chorus  ... 
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Concerto for Violin in D major, Op. 61 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Henryk Szeryng (Violin)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
6.
Concerto for Piano no 4 in G major, Op. 58 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Friedrich Gulda (Piano)
Conductor:  Horst Stein
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
7.
Duet for Viola and Cello in E flat major, WoO 32 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich String Quintet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796-1797; Vienna, Austria 
8.
Quintet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich String Quintet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
Written: 1810 
11.
Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
Written: 1805-6 
12.
Quartet for Strings no 15 in A minor, Op. 132 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
13.
Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Guarneri String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
14.
Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello no 1 in E flat major, Op. 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Zurich String Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1794 
15.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 1 in E flat major, Op. 1 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: 1794-1795; Vienna, Austria 
16.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 5 in D major, Op. 70 no 1 "Ghost" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
17.
Trio for Piano and Strings no 7 in B flat major, Op. 97 "Archduke" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Borodin Trio
Period: Classical 
Written: 1810-1811; Vienna, Austria 
18.
Songs (12) of various nationality, WoO 157 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Zsuzsa Zsizsmann (Violin), Antonia Bourvé (Soprano), David Mulvenna Hamilton (Tenor),
Rebekka Stöhr (Mezzo Soprano), Haakon Schaub (Baritone), Manfred Bittner (Bass),
Cornelius Boensch (Cello), Michael Clark (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: by 1839; Vienna, Austria 
19.
Missa solemnis in D major, Op. 123 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Robert Lloyd (Bass), Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Soprano), Patricia Payne (Mezzo Soprano),
Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Colin Davis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra,  London Symphony Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
20.
Fidelio, Op. 72 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Kurt Rydl (Bass), Hartmut Welker (Baritone), Josef Protschka (Tenor),
Tom Krause (Baritone), Ruth Ziesak (Soprano), Gabriele Schnaut (Soprano),
Uwe Heilmann (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christoph von Dohnányi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,  Vienna State Opera Chorus Konzertvereinigung
Period: Classical 
Written: 1804/1814; Vienna, Austria 
21.
Sonata for Violin and Piano no 5 in F major, Op. 24 "Spring" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Arthur Grumiaux (Violin), Clara Haskil (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
22.
Sonata for Cello and Piano no 3 in A major, Op. 69 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Heinrich Schiff (Cello), Till Fellner (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
23.
Septet in E flat major, Op. 20 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields Chamber Ens.
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
24.
Sonata for Piano no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 27 no 2 "Moonlight" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Friedrich Gulda (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
25.
Sonata for Piano no 13 in E flat major, Op. 27 no 1 "Quasi una fantasia" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Friedrich Gulda (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800-1801; Vienna, Austria 
26.
Sonata for Piano no 21 in C major, Op. 53 "Waldstein" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Friedrich Gulda (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803-1804; Vienna, Austria 
27.
Sonata(s) for Piano by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Friedrich Gulda (Piano)
Period: Romantic 

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