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  LSO Live -
  LSO0598 (6 discs)
  Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9 - Haitink
  Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1-9, Leonore Overture No. 2, Triple Concerto

Gordan Nikolitch (violin)
Tim Hugh (cello)
Lars Vogt (piano)

Twyla Robinson (soprano)
Karen Cargill (mezzo soprano)
John Mac Master (tenor)
Gerald Finley (bass)
London Symphony Chorus

London Symphony Orchestra
Bernhard Haitink (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 8 show all

Fauré: Requiem - Short        

Reviews: 6 show all

Site review by Polly Nomial October 2, 2006
Performance:   Sonics:  
The text for this review has been moved to the new site. You can read it here:

Review by theaudiohiffle December 4, 2006 (14 of 15 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
I bought this box set very soon after its release, after reading three reviews of the individual releases here on The reviews stressed the nuance and attention to dynamics and dance-like quality that I had heard Haitink bring to a performance of Mahler's First at Tanglewood this summer. That performance had me going away shaking my head in wonder (and I'm not a big Mahler fan).

I decided to to listen to the symphonies in natural order, rather than by release. So I started with No. 1, listening on my five-full-range Thiel multi-channel music setup. I could hardly sit still I was so excited as the piece unfolded, and at the end I found myself saying to the empty room "wow-o-wow-o-wow"!! Out loud! I can never remember having such a strong reaction to a piece of music in my life.

The remainder of the symphonies never failed to please...I rate them all at or near the top of any other perfomance I have or have heard...although the 8th is a little rushed to my taste, and the orchestral and choral forces a little too light to convey the necessary "gravitas" of the Ninth. But still, these are fine interpretations. That slight, little symphony called the "First", however, for me still conveys the most magic of Haitink's conducting.

Frankly, the last Beethoven cycle that I found compelling was Walter's...and that was back in the late '60's. Until now, it has been my favorite although I also have Klemperer and Kleiber's output, plus a few others.

When I try to describe the Haitink approach, I tell people to mix Walter's lyricism and sense of propulsiveness, with Kleiber's lean, uptempo approach, and then to throw in Szell's attention to balance and nuance and detail...and then prepare to have that mix bettered. This is an unbelievable set, and I am happy to see that the NYC critics agree (I was really interested in whether they would embrace this fairly radical approach.)

The fine sound is not just icing on this multichannel it is like adding another layer and a half-inch of icing. These recordings come as close as I have heard in multichannel to capturing the sound of a full orchestra in a good hall (the boxy bass excepted). I use a Sony SACD player (C2000ES) that decodes direct in pure DSD, and despite the Barbicons dryness, I still can hear enough ambience to make the sound in my room gourgeous. When I attend concerts, I tend to clost my eyes to concentrate on the music...when I do that in my living room, I can very easily suspend belief...the sound is that close to "being there".

I will treasure this set until the end of my days, and hope others will attain the same joy from it after I am gone.

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Review by krisjan October 10, 2006 (12 of 12 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
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Works: 11  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Leonore Overture No. 2, Op. 72a
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"
Ludwig van Beethoven - Triple Concerto in C major, Op. 56