October 29, 2020
Beethoven Box Sets For This 'Beethoven 250' Holiday Season
 Celebrate Beethoven’s 250th birthday this December with stand-out recording collections of the composer’s most beloved works, including the symphonies, string quartets, piano sonatas and concertos, and duo works for cello and piano.
 

PIANO SONATAS performed by JONATHAN BISS
Orchid Classics (
ORC100117)

 

9-disc set, $67 from Amazon

“One of today’s foremost Beethoven exponents.” – Chicago Tribune

For more than a decade, pianist Jonathan Bisshasfully immersed himself in the music of Beethoven, exploring the composer’s works and musical thought through a wide variety of projects. The centerpiece of his efforts was this recording cycle of Beethoven’s 32 piano sonatas. Jonathan Biss’s Beethoven immersion has also included sonata cycles in recital, a Coursera course that surveys all 32 piano sonatas, and Beethoven/5, a commissioning project that paired Beethoven’s five piano concertos with new piano concertos composed in response by some of today’s leading composers.

 

PIANO CONCERTOS performed by STEPHEN HOUGH
Hyperion Records (
CDA68291/3)

 

3-disc set, $27 from Amazon

“The sparks struck between [the orchestra's] crisp responsiveness and Hough’s immaculate blend of imagination and control are considerable. Magisterial one moment, wry the next, Hough is a whole orchestra in himself, and not a note is wasted.” – The Guardian

Following a lifetime of performances of the Beethoven piano concertos around the world, Stephen Hough recorded these five masterworks on a three-disc set with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, led by Chief Conductor Hannu Lintu. The first movement of Piano Concerto No. 2 on this recording features a cadenza composed by Mr. Hough.

 

STRING QUARTETS performed by MIRÓ QUARTET
PENTATONE (PTC 5186827)

 

8-disc set, $47 from Amazon

“The Miró get to the very core of Beethoven’s art. And they do so by revealing the specific genius of each individual quartet… there’s so much profoundly satisfyng music here that I can strongly recommend it to others who hold these works near to their hearts.” – Gramophone

The Miró Quartet’s complete Beethoven string quartet recording cycle marked the culmination of the ensemble’s two-decade exploration of these sixteen pivotal works in the quartet repertoire, while also celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth. The Quartet has performed these works in concert around the world, including complete cycles in Portland (OR), Tulsa, Tokyo, and most recently in livestreams for the virtual 2020 Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival.

 

SYMPHONIES performed by MINNESOTA ORCHESTRA
BIS Records (BIS-1825)

 

5-disc set, $42 from minnesotaorchestra.org

“…a superb achievement, illustrating the point that great Beethoven performances are not the exclusive province of the central European orchestral tradition.”
– BBC Music Magazine

“…[a Beethoven cycle that] may be the definitive one of our time.” – The New York Times

In 2004, one year after his appointment as Music Director, Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra embarked on their first recording project together— Beethoven’s complete symphonies. Produced and recorded over five years using Super Audio CD technology, the recordings in this, now classic, complete set earned Grammy and Gramophone Award nominations and received high praise in national and international media outlets.

 

SONATAS & VARIATIONS performed by 
SHAI WOSNER (piano) & RALPH KIRSHBAUM (cello)
Onyx Classics (
ONYX4178)

 

2-disc set, $28 from Amazon

In 2016 at London’s Wigmore Hall, pianist Shai Wosner was joined by cellist Ralph Kirshbaum for a live recording of Beethoven’s complete sonatas and variations for cello and piano. The Wigmore Hall performances were the culmination of a tour of these works throughout the United States and Europe.

“Listeners fortunate enough to hear this duo in this repertoire in concert in London recently will know what a treat they are in for. Kirshbaum, 70 years young, is in fine form with distinctive rich-yet-lithe tone and deeply intuitive phrasing. No detail is overlooked, yet each piece is allowed to unfold organically. His partnership with Wosner is inspired, the pianist as refreshingly supple as he is insightful. With excellent recorded sound, this makes [for] a fascinating must-hear…”
– Classical Music 
Magazine,
Editor’s Choice

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