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John Quinn
MusicWeb International, December 2011

This Beethoven symphony cycle is a good, sound proposition. …anyone buying this set will acquire a sensible, thoughtful and thoroughly musical cycle of the symphonies. Sir Colin’s isn’t the only way with Beethoven, a description that would apply to all conductors, and almost anyone will want to supplement a core cycle with individual symphonies by other conductors… However, Davis is a reliable, experienced and discerning guide to the Beethoven canon and I doubt if anyone investing in this well considered and excellently played set will be disappointed. © 2011 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Infodad.com, October 2011

This Beethoven cycle can be summed up in a single word: well-proportioned. Davis carefully and correctly takes the indicated repeats, so the symphonies’ layouts are as Beethoven intended, and there are lovely details in every piece. No. 1 features a light touch in a nicely balanced reading that is never overly weighty. No. 2 is well-paced…No. 3 is grand in style and pacing, but not overdone, with particularly good horns and a very impressive second-movement funeral march. No. 4 is kept fairly light and ebullient…The first movement of No. 5 is slightly slower than usual and very dramatic, making for a strong contrast with the relaxed second. No 6 contrasts a pleasantly paced first movement with a relaxed second…

The last three symphonies are all high points of this set. The finale features soprano Sharon Sweet, contralto Jadwiga Rappé, tenor Paul Frey, baritone Franz Grundheber and the excellent Chor der Staatsoper Dresden. Here the initial voice entry is unusually declamatory, and all the vocal sections are handled with strength and nobility—and there are also many attractive instrumental touches, notably amid the choral sections. This is a highly satisfying performance on all levels. There have been many Beethoven cycles released since this one was recorded, but this Davis compilation is entirely worthy to stand with the best of them from the past 20 years.






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3:54:21 PM, 18 April 2014
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