HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Amadeo) Ludwig van Beethoven – Complete Piano Sonatas (Gulda)

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Not quite 50 years since I first heard a Beethoven sonata. In all this time I have never had such a powerful, visceral, response to a recording. Gulda’s tempo is on the quicker side. Here the issue is between two approaches. (1)”I have brilliant technique, I’ll translate the music in these terms”. Or (2) Beethoven requires this intensity and tempo. I have the necessary technical skill. So lets deploy it.” Gulda is unquestionably in the second category. Those in the first…You know who you are!
The most striking thing, consistently throughout the cycle, is the unselfconscious, almost “simple” or naive playing on the Steinway. It felt, at times, as though I had never heard these sonatas before. I found myself thinking the most absurd thought, “This is how Beethoven would want it played.” As I say, absurd. Nevertheless….That was the feeling… Point is the impression was one of absolute authenticity and truth to the score. And Beethoven’s vision… And a revalation, after so many years of listening to these works…
Over fifty years I’ve heard and collected several sets of the Beethoven sonatas. Rubinstein, the wonderful Poetical Solomon, some Intense Backhaus, Grand Arrau, Precise Pollini. And others. Each has brought great pleasure and insight into these wonderful sonatas. None, ever, has had this intense an impact, on first hearing.

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Friedrich Gulda
Vinyl 1968
Number of discs: 11
Format: Flac
Label: Amadeo
DR-Analysis:
DR 12
Size: 11.86 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (CBS) Franz Schubert/Ludwig van Beethoven – “Trout”-Quintet/Piano Quartet (Budapest String Quartet)

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All thanks for this gem go to Lemarquis
The Budapest String Quartet for over thirty years was reguarded as simply “the” string quartet. For over a decade they were the string quartet in residence at the Library of Congress. They used Strads from the Library’s collection. They performed the entire Beethoven cycle every year they were there. All these performances were recorded. The 1952 performances were released on columbia from those cycles. This stereo really captures the sound of the instruments.
The “Trout” is a lovely piece, the warmth of the sound is present, but what counts is the life and energy and thought that seem to have gone into every bar. The variety of dynamics and texture, the adjustments of pacing bespeak a total commitment to the music here, and it’s just harrowing in places. The lyrical gestures are fleeting, and the obsessive drive of the faster passages, contrasted with the eerie character of the slower ones is just gripping. It’s just an outstanding recording.

Composer: Franz Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Budapest String Quartet, Mieczyslaw Horszowski, Julius Levine, Joseph Roisman, Boris Kroyt, Mischa Schneider
Vinyl 1950(1963)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: CBS
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 1.22 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (World Record Club) Ludwig van Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 4 (Gilels/Szell)

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All thanks for this gem go to Lemarquis
Gilels recorded Beethoven’s concertos three times, and the recordings with Szell are simply the best. Recordings are made in the 60’s, and Gilels was in his best “Beethoven-form” then. When he was younger, he preferred to super-virtuoso romantic pieces, but from 1950’s he started to play Beethoven more and more. These interpretations are quite plastic, Gilels plays this like Viennesse-classical pieces should be played: everything is clear, but nothing is exaggrerated. And sound is so Gilels-like: Bright and metallic (in a positive meaning!!)! Szell proves an excellent accompanist with his superb Cleveland orchestra. A conductor who was especially famous for his interpretations of Viennese-classics. Gilels gives room to delightful solos by flute/oboe here and there – one gets a feeling that this is a chamber orchestra playing with piano in it! Not just orchestra against the piano. The tonal range is marvellous.

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Emil Gilels
Orchestra: The Cleveland Orchestra
Conductor: George Szell
Vinyl 1969(1971)
Number of discs: 1
Format: Flac
Label: World Record Club
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 835 MB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (DGG) Ludwig van Beethoven – 200 Years Edition, Box 8, Piano Works (14 LPs)

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This is Box No. 8 of the Bicentennial Beethoven Collection, published by Deutsche Grammophon 1970, to celebrate Beethoven’s 200th birthday with all his works on 12 Box-Sets/75 LPs.
In the last years I spent only for this Beethoven Edition around 500-550 EUR. If you think and feel, you want to contribute, any donation will be welcome. Thank you!

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Geza Anda, Wilhelm Kempff, Jörg Demus, Norman Shetler
Number of Discs: 14/75
Format: Flac
Label: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft
DR-Analysis: DR 16
Size: 13.77 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FileFactory

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Decca) Ludwig van Beethoven – Complete Piano Sonatas (Backhaus)

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A very great THANK YOU to Trottar for this gem
If you are reading this review, chances are you are a classical record collector who owns multiple versions of all the Beethoven sonatas, perhaps multiple complete cycles by the likes of Schnabel, Kempff, Brendel, Gulda et. al. You are also probably wondering whether you should invest in another Beethoven cycle by a pianist whose name and legacy may be less familiar to you. The answer is: absolutely! Not even Schnabel probed more deeply behind the notes than Wilhelm Backhaus, and few have possessed the technical endurance at an advanced age to conquer the rugged peaks of the late sonatas (all but the *Hammerklavier* were taken down when Backhaus was in his seventies).

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Wilhelm Backhaus
Vinyl (19??)
Number of discs: 10
Format: Flac
Label: Decca
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 9.83 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (Philips) Ludwig van Beethoven – The 5 Piano Concerti (Brendel/Haitink)

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Oh friends, I’m experiencing at now a paradigm shift in my understanding of the LvB piano concerti, concerning the best interpreter, who ever recorded them. In the origin I had only the concerti with Pollini and (three of the five concerti) with Benedetti-Michelangeli and I was happy for many years. Both great pianists, both marvellous in their interpretations although a little different from each other. Then I heard Katchen and I was speechless… then Arrau, Rubinstein and – OMG – Kempff !!! I thought, never in life can another pianist reach the level of these five “gods”. Oh, how wrong I was! Thanks to Trottar and Jean-Luc I “discovered” in the last 3 years my love for Brendel, an artist who was well known to be, but I never estimated more than just a little – don’t ask me why. Two weeks ago I found out by accident that Brendel had recorded the concerti and I was like electrified. In such moments I don’t think twice or a second too long: seen and purchased was a single act. Please welcome the sixt “god” in the olymp of the LvB piano concerti interpreters.

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Alfred Brendel
Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Bernard Haitink
Vinyl (1975-77)
Number of discs: 5
Format: Flac
Label: Philips
DR-Analysis:
DR 14
Size: 3.8GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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HD-Vinyl 24/96 (RCA) Ludwig van Beethoven – The 5 Piano Concerti (Rubinstein/Leinsdorf)

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No one has quite the presence and panache and mastery of line of the wonderful Artur Rubinstein. And his piano sound is very distinctive and refreshing in spite of the age of his recordings. He has a way of holding one’s interest and delight through the special quality of understanding the drama of all he plays. “Rubinstein,” a prominent conductor once quipped, “is the only pianist you could wake up at midnight and ask to play any of the 38 major piano concertos.” Hyperbole aside, Rubinstein was indeed one of the most versatile and commanding of all virtuosos, and he left a series of recordings for piano and orchestra that are still big sellers decades later. These recordings, made in 1965-67, demonstrate Rubinstein was just as “on top” of these works technically as he was in the earlier set with Krips (1956) and much more “into” them musically. In addition, the playing is notably more alert and straightforward than in his later set with Barenboim (1975).

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Artur Rubinstein
Orchestra: Boston Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Erich Leinsdorf
Vinyl (1965-67)
Number of discs: 4
Format: Flac
Label: RCA
DR-Analysis:
DR 13
Size: 3.31 GB
Scan: yes
Server: FF

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Reiner / CSO – Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 In E-Flat, Op. 55 (“Eroica”) (original US pressing, mono)

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# Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
# Conductor: Fritz Reiner
# Orchestra: Chicago Symphony Orchestra
# Vinyl (1955)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: RCA Victor Red Seal | LM-1899
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.66GB), 24-bit/96kHz (811MB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (197MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory

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Kempff – Beethoven – Piano Sonatas No. 29 & 30 (German pressing)

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# Composers: Ludwug van Beethoven
# Performer: Wilhelm Kempff
# Vinyl (1965)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft | 138 944 SLPM
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (2.29GB), 24-bit/96kHz (1.12GB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (274MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory

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Ansermet / OSR – Beethoven: Symphony No. 1 & No. 8 (mono, original UK pressing)

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# Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
# Orchestra: L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
# Conductor: Ernest Ansermet
# Vinyl (1956)
# Number of Discs: 1
# Format: Flac
# DR Analysis: DR 13
# Label: London Records | LL 1493
# Size: 24-bit/192kHz (1.72GB), 24-bit/96kHz (844MB) and 16-bit/44.1kHz (208MB)
# Recovery: 5%
# Scan: yes
# Servers: File Factory

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