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Not a piano thread, but hey, we all love the Beethoven symphonies.

I've always been partial to the Abbado cycle (the blue album cover). His his tempi are perfect and he really drives it home in all the right places. I can't think of a better ending to the 9th than his. Sadly, the recordings are a little quiet on the album. Karajan is very good too, but leaves me wanting certain things here and there. I also really enjoy Toscanini's robust approach which emphasizes a lot of things usually glossed over. I wish the sound quality was better.

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Since this is a piano forum, the answer is

Katsaris


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Gardiner is my personal favorite.

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I think there is not one conductor that would be consistently the best for all the symphonies. For example for the 5th, i prefer Furtwangler in his 1943 version or Carlos Kleiber (some would add Toscanini). Otherwise there are a lot of excellent sets. Harnoncourt, Rattle either with the Vienna or Berlin, Bruggen, Gardiner, Furtwangler (his 9th with the Philharmonia is wonderfull), the first version of Karajan with the Philharmonia, Chailly, Abbado, ......

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As already said, I have separate single symphony favorites. However if I have to listen to an entire set, it would be the Karajan 1963. The next best would be the set of George Szell.


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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think there is not one conductor that would be consistently the best for all the symphonies. For example for the 5th, i prefer Furtwangler in his 1943 version or Carlos Kleiber (some would add Toscanini). Otherwise there are a lot of excellent sets. Harnoncourt, Rattle either with the Vienna or Berlin, Bruggen, Gardiner, Furtwangler (his 9th with the Philharmonia is wonderfull), the first version of Karajan with the Philharmonia, Chailly, Abbado, ......

Kleiber just might have the best 7th ever.

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Originally Posted by chopinetto
Kleiber just might have the best 7th ever.

Yes the 7th by Kleiber is one of his best. Most of what he recorded is excellent. Klemperer is also very good in the 7th.

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Also a huge fan of the Carlos Kleiber 7th. Probably my 'desert island' 7th.

That said, take a listen to this 1927 performance by Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra, in surprisingly decent sound. This could be the earliest recording of the 7th around, but I'm not sure:

https://youtu.be/KTQepAGagwE

Another favorite 7th of mine is the classic 1936 Toscanini/NYPO performance:

https://youtu.be/8AuFNGCVsgg

Edited to add: Forgot about this one, by Furtwangler (1950):

https://youtu.be/2kuJEKMSPZw

Last edited by Steve.L; 01/30/21 07:13 PM.
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Kleiber for just about anything.

I like Klemperer. Solti is great for the Ninth. Karajan has a great sixth.

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Another set I like is that of Günter Wand with NDR Symphony Orchestra.


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