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Complete Beethoven Edition, Vol. 2: Concertos
Daniel Barenboim, Peter Gulke, Patrick Gallois
Complete Beethoven Edition, Vol. 2: Concertos
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #1
  •  Track Listings (7) - Disc #2
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #3
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #4
  •  Track Listings (6) - Disc #5


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The piano concertos are superb; the rest is mediocre | Cambridge, MA USA | 02/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"A collection of this size and variety (this set features every work for soloist with orchestra Beethoven ever wrote) is bound to be a mixed bag, and this set is no exception. The main reason for buying this set is the magnificent set of the piano concertos featuring Maurizio Pollini. The clarity and assurance of his playing is little short of astonishing, while there is no hint of the coldness he has sometimes been accused of - and anyway, he has two of the warmest, most sympathetic accompanists ever in Karl Böhm (3-5, analogue recordings) and Eugen Jochum (1-2, digital recordings), in addition to the warmth of the Vienna Philharmonic. Although his playing in the introverted G major Concerto is searching and powerful, Pollini is perhaps best suited to the enormous scale of the Emperor Concerto, where his magisterial playing is heard to outstanding effect. The slow movement of the Emperor is exceptional. Warm, clear sound throughout. This is certainly one of the best sets, if not the best set, of the piano concertos out there.The rest of the set is sadly below this (admittedly high) standard. Next time, Deutsche Grammophon should entrust their choice of performance to their musical experts instead of their PR department; the choice of the Karajan/Mutter Violin Concerto over the Schneiderhan/Jochum version is mind-boggling. While a pleasant, fully competent performance, there is no way the Karajan can match the glories of that recognized classic. My main reservations concern the first movement ("Allegro ma non troppo"), which Karajan takes at an extremely slow tempo. He and Mutter sustain it superbly, but it sounds contrived when set against the natural elegance of Schneiderhan and Jochum. The older team also captures the magical stillness of the slow movement to a much greater degree - and at a flowing, more spontaneously natural tempo. Spontaneity and lyricism are the hallmarks of the Schneiderhan/Jochum version - two virtues lacking in Karajan's hands (it is Karajan's musical personality which dominates the performance). Lyricism is present, but it's the wrong kind - static and narcissistic. The Triple Concerto, which features the same conductor and violinist in addition to Zeltser's piano and Ma's cello, suffers from the same problems: intimidated (though imaginative) soloists and a conspicuous lack of spontaneity. They are both beautifully played, though, and aren't incompetent. However, in my opinion they're not of the standard a set like this needs.These seven concertos are the extent of the standard Beethoven concerto repertoire, but as this is a complete set, we are given all the fragments and trivialities, which date mostly from Beethoven's early years in Bonn. These make for intriguing listening and reference, but will probably not be listened to more than a few times.As with every volume of the Complete Beethoven Edition, the presentation is handsome. The informative, beautiful booklet contains many intriguing essays on all of Beethoven's concertos, and features beautiful color reproductions of many appropriate paintings and visual resources.In sum: if you want a compilation of all of Beethoven's concertos in performances that range from good to superlative, look no further. Even if you're looking for the best performances of each concerto, you should consider buying this, because it is only in this set that you can find Pollini's outstanding Piano Concertos - and the price of this set is only a few dollars more than, say, the Brendel-Rattle set of just the Piano Concertos. If you're looking for the best performance of the Violin Concerto, look to Schneiderhan and Jochum on DG Originals 447 403-2. There has never, to my knowledge, been a high-quality recording of the Triple Concerto; the catalogue is dominated by Karajan's two attempts, of which the earlier on EMI Great Recordings of the Century is probably preferable to this, though there's really not much in it. Overall, I doubt anyone will be disappointed with this set."
This volume made me hunt down and buy the complete 87 disc c
A. Kwan | 09/18/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This volume is what led me on a six month hunt for the complete twenty volume set. I've listened to other recordings of the concertos and come back to this volume time and time again. The details are fantastic, you can even hear the breathing of the pianist on certain tracks during particularly intense passages, which makes the listening experience all the more lucid to me.

5 stars. Absolutely, 5 stars."
It's Just Ok.
Torbjørn Lygre | Norway | 10/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"It's just Ok for the recordings with Violin Concertos with Mutter is just Dull. It going toooooo SLOW and her playing is just so. And The piano concertos no. 1-5 is so. I like Kempff recordings from early 60's better but it has more bad sound. For this I will gave this box 8/9. The first number is for the artist and playing. The second number is for the sound. Not bad, but not topp."