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  Tower Records Definition Serie -
  TDSA-1 (5 discs)
  Beethoven: Symphonies - Cluytens
  Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9

Gre Brouwenstijn, soprano
Kerstin Meyer, mezzo
Nicolai Gedda, tenor
Frederick Guthrie, bass
Chor der St. Hedwigs-Kathedrale, Berlin
Berliner Philharmoniker
André Cluytens
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 8 show all

Reviews: 1

Review by mwgfrg August 10, 2015 (7 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This set dates from the late '50s and has perhaps been somewhat under-rated. Cluytens seems to have had the ability to get his ideas across to an orchestra without interfering with the group's real basic sound. His recording of Ravel's complete orchestral music is virtually unique in letting the sound of a real '60s French orchestra shine through while his interpretations demonstrate why he was Ravel's favorite conductor of the latter's music--even though Belgian, no less. Here, throughout, there is the mellow, rich and warm sound of the pre-Karajan Berlin Philharmonic, and it is a pleasure to listen to it from one recording to another. These are, in most respects, middle of the road interpretations as to tempo and dynamics; while the impression is never that the readings are slow, there are no biting attacks or piercing brass to disrupt attention from the smooth overall flow of the music--which is intended entirely as a positive comment.
I have had mid-'60s EMI LP versions of symphonies 2 and 4 for many years, and a 90's French EMI CD set of the complete cycle. The SACD sound is firmer, deeper and warmer than the French set, better catching the rounded attacks and heavy, rich sound of the orchestra, and a (very) slight improvement over the original LPs. I particularly enjoyed symphonies 2, 4, and 6, and perhaps only slightly less so the "Eroica", 8th and 9th, but never found any of the symphonies less than fully satisfying. None of the individual recordings challenges, for me, my own favorites (Monteux's 1st and 8th, Szell's 2nd, Weingartner's "Eroica" and 9th, Carlos Kleiber's 4th, Furtwangler's 5th, Walter's "Pastorale" and Reiner's 7th), but as a set I'm not sure there is a more completely rounded one out there, let alone on SACD in stereo. Maybe not an essential purchase, but certainly a rewarding one.
Several comments indicate that getting a copy of this set is not easy. My Japanese being less than fluent, I could not navigate either the shipping service Tower directs you to or However, when I looked there were 4 new, sealed sets on eBay at fairly reasonable prices, and the one I ordered arrived less than a week later.

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Works: 9  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 4 in B flat major, Op. 60
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 8 in F major, Op. 93
Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"