This really was quite a fine recording of Beethoven's Missa Solemnis, one of the best in years and easily the best of the early music recordings. The Choeur de la Chapelle Royale et du Collegium Vocale sing with strength and stamina, but also with grace and beauty of tone. The Champs Elysees Orchestra plays with power and precision, but also with unity of ensemble and beauty of tone, a very rare quality in an early music orchestra. And Herreweghe himself is actually an apt interpreter of the work. Not only does he have a knack for bringing out better than the best in his performers, but he actually seems to believe in the spiritual and sublime essence of the work, a very, very rare quality in any conductor these days. The result is a performance which, while it doesn't rival the 1940 Toscanini, the 1965 Klemperer, or the 1974 Böhm, does express the overwhelming sense that the numinous is imminent. Harmonia Mundi's sound is rich and vibrant.- James Leonard
It's an intimate, home-studio recording of love songs – deep, almost painfully heartfelt – and so good it will be sure to top most best-of lists. There's no tricksiness, just the woody thump of Haden's bass adding authority to Jarrett's tender, faithful chording. "For All We Know" is a Desert Island Discs cert; "Body & Soul" is done almost jauntily; the closing "Don't Ever Leave Me" a bitter sweet miracle. If you buy only one album this year, etc. ~Phil Johnson in The Independent, 2 May 2010
Decca's five-CD set Ultimate Beethoven is a respectable beginner's introduction to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven because it presents his greatest masterworks in complete performances by major artists. Where some other collections present only short, thematic excerpts or single movements taken from larger works, obliging the listener to put in additional effort to hear the whole compositions, this set leaves nothing incomplete. Central to Beethoven's output are his symphonies, and the Symphony No. 5 in C minor; the Symphony No. 6 in F major, "Pastoral"; and the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral" have long been regarded as essential works.
One of the great cycles. Of the hundred or so available recorded cycles (out of about one hundred and fifteen or so), this rates as one of the best. In better sound than either the DG stereo cycle and the live King International cycle, Kempff's style is more poetic and less intense and fiery than others. Whatever Kempff may give away in terms of speed, power, and precision, he makes up for in other ways
60 CD box set. Selection of Ludwig Van Beethoven works recorded by David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Symphonies), Yefim Bronfman, David Zinman & tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Piano concertos), Pinchas Zuckerman & Marc Neikrug (Violin Sonatas), Anner Bylsma & Jon Van Immerseel (Cello Sonatas), Seraphin Trio (Piano Trios), Alexander String Quartet (String Quartets), Yukio Yokoyama, Robert Casadesus, Justus Frantz, Vladimir Horowitz, Gerhard Oppitz & Charles Rosen (Piano Sonatas), Eugene Ormandy & Philadelphia Orchestra (Christ On The Mount Of Olives), Wolfdieter Maurer & Tokyo Oratorio Society (Mass in C Major), David Zinman & Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich (Missa Solemnis) and many other great artists.
Five Piano Concertos and the Piano Sonata No. 32, opus 111, recorded in stereo in 1962 and 1964, respectively, by Wilhelm Kempff [1895-1991] and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Ferdinand Leitner [1912-96]. The sonata, the composer’s last, is certainly more than a mere filler, from the opening hesitancy of the ‘Allegro con brio ed appassionato’ to the extended closing section of the second movement.
This set of Beethoven string quartets by the Borodin Quartet reflects a mature perspective on the works. It's not that it lacks energy the Vivaces are vivacious and the Allegros have plenty of brio but it has wisdom and a maturity not generally characteristic of performances by younger quartets. These performances are comparable with the Budapest Quartet's last set of the quartets.
A stunning 12-CD box set, Beethoven Unbound, will be released to mark the completion of Llŷr Williams’ monumental Beethoven cycle at Wigmore Hall and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) – recorded live at Wigmore Hall over three years and nine recitals.
Walter Murphy's "A Fifth of Beethoven" put classical disco on the map. It helped that Beethoven's symphony had a heavy percussion feel, which Murphy cranked up a couple of notches with his amazing ingenuity. Other selections, while creatively different, are just as good, but didn't burn a hole in the charts like "Fifth." "Suite Love Symphony," "Flight '76," "California Strut," and "Russian Dressing" will expand your mind and quench your musical thirst at the same time. "Midnight Express" is fine European boogie, while the horn-laden "Get a Little Lovin'" is a funky thing. It's always a nice trick when artists can define a genre with a single song, and Murphy did that. Even better when they can follow it up with an album that expands on that song's charms and delivers a satisfying listening experience.