Wednesday, January 12, 2011

1/12 The 10 Essential Beethoven CDs

Sometimes I get asked - What do you recommend as far as essential Beethoven goes?
And someday I'll have to sit down and answer that question.  My knee-jerk response is "All of it", but if you don't feel up to listening to 87 CDs of Beethoven's music in one go, then here's a Top 10 list from "Classical CD Guide.Com.  Their choices are pretty solid and a good place to start when diving into Beethoven's's a sampling:

Top 10 Essential Beethoven CDs (according to Classical CD
(for any artists who I couldn't find on YT, I subbed a pretty good rendition I think.  These are all excerpts (except #1) need to buy those 86 other CDs, right?)

1. Symphony 5, Conducted by Carlos Kleiber Herbert von Karajan
(Complete.  Play It Loud.) "The most famous piece of classical music ever written".

2. "Pathétique" and "Moonlight" Piano Sonatas, Alfred Brendel:
"Beethoven's more intimate medium of expression. "
(Moonlight 1st movement)

3. "Razumovsky" String Quartets Takács Tokyo Quartet:
"Revolutionary chamber works. "
(String Quartet 9, in C, Op.59 No 3 M4, excerpt)

4. Symphony 9, "Choral", Conducted by von Karajan,
"An inspiring journey, culminating in the "Ode to Joy." 

5 Violin Concerto, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, Eugen Jochum:
"Inaugurating the era of the Romantic concerto." 

6. Piano Concerto 5, "Emperor" Kovacevich, Davis: Emil Gilels/Kurt Sanderling:
"The king of piano concertos."

7. Symphony 3, "Eroica" Szell    Arturo Toscanini '53:
"A revolutionary symphony." 

8. "Spring" and "Kreutzer" Violin Sonatas  Perlman / Ashkenazy, Heifetz/Moiseiwitsch
"The young composer at his most jubilant."
("Kreutzer" 1st movement)

9. Late String Quartets, Takács Quartet,
"Quartets that break all the rules." 
(Opus 131, Movement 5 - Presto)

10 Late Piano Sonatas, Maurizio Pollini,
"Complex works that set a new standard."
(Opus 111, excerpt)

From a purely musical perspective, I can humbly judge this post to be the greatest blog post in recorded history ;).

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