Beethoven: 250th Anniversary Essential Recordings

Essential Recordings

Symphonies Nos 5 and 7
DG 471 630-2 [SACD hybrid]
Carlos Kleiber's mid '70s VPO coupling is also on CD at less cost: 447 400-2. The two 180g LP pressings are now elusive: Amazon perhaps.

The Symphonies
DG 479 3442 (five CDs + Blu-ray audio)
Karajan stinted on repeats but his first Berlin cycle (of three) remains a library choice. The 8LP alternative is vastly expensive, and Eloquence's CD set (no Blu-ray) the cheapest.

The Piano Concertos
Philips 462 7812 (three discs)
Alfred Brendel's final and fourth recording, 1997-8, is with the VPO under Sir Simon Rattle.

The Missa Solemnis
BR Klassik 900130
Haitink's Sept '14 live recording with the Bavarian RSO has all the qualities to make a top modern recommendation.

Warner 2564695614/Testament SBT21328
Klemperer again for the opera. Philharmonia studio or ROH live. Ludwig vs Jurinac as Leonore (both have Vickers in the lead role).

Late String Quartets and Grosse fuge
Philips 475 8685 (three discs)
The late '60s set by the Quartetto Italiano which Tully Potter suggests as 'perhaps the most humane we have had'.