BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 1 in C, Op. 21. Symphony No. 2 in D, Op. 36. Symphony No. 3 in E flat, Op. 55 "Eroica." Symphony No. 4 in B flat, Op. 60. Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67. Symphony No. 6 in F, Op. 68 "Pastorale." Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92. Symphony No. 8 in F, Op. 93. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"
Christiane Karg, soprano; Mihoko Fujimura, alto; Michael Schade, tenor; Michael Volle, bass; Bavaian Radio Chorus and Orch/Mariss Jansons, cond.
ARTHAUS MUSIK DVD TT: 116 min + 44 min. bonus / 124 min. / 144 min.

Daniel Barenboim, piano; Vienna Philharmonc Orch/Pierre Boulez, cond. (Ravel: Vales nobles et sentimentales. BARTÓK: Piano Concerto No. 1. STRAVINSKY: The Firebird
2009 Vienna Philharmonia Orch/Nicholas Harnoncourt, cond. (JOSEF STRAUSS: Waltzes. SCHUBERT: Symphony No. 9 in C|
2010 Daniel Barenboim, piano-conductor; Dorothea Röschmann, soprano; Elina Garanca, mezzo-soprano; Klaus Florian Vogt, tenor; René Pape, bass; Vienna State Opera Chorus; Vienna Philharmonic Orch.(BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4. BOULEZ: Notatons I-IV & VII. BRUCKNER: Te Deum).
2011 Anna Prohaska, soprano; Dorothea Rösemann, soprano; Anna Larsson, contralto; Johann Botha, tenor; Venna State Opera Chorus; Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra; Pierre Boulez, cond. (BERG: Suite from Lulu, Der Wien MAHER: Das Klagende Lied).
C MAJOR DVD (4 disks) TT: 90 min. / 95 min. 85 min. 87 min.

JANACEK: Sinfonietta. STRAUSS: Don Juan, Op. 20. BARTÓK: Concerto for Orchesra.
Vienna Philharmonic Orch/Sir Georg Solti, cond.

Here's yet another DVD set of all of Beethoven's symphonies, joining others conducted by Claudio Abbado, Daniel Barenboim, Michael Gielen, Christian Thielemann, Leonard Bernstein and, Herbert von Karajan, This new set features live performances recorded during concerts on unspecified dates in 2012 when the Bavarian Radio Symphony was on tour with Mariss Jansons who has been music director of the orchestra since 2003. His contract has just been extended to 2018. Obviously the powers that be are delighted with Jansons' work with the orchestra, and it shows in these solid performances. It seems odd to me that the Bavarian orchestra would take all of the Beethoven symphonies on tour, but that's the way it was. Grammophone has just selected this as their Recording of the Month, an accolade I find overly enthusiastic. Tokyo's Suntory Hall is a fine venue with warm acoustics (recently this site mentioned an exciting Racmaninoff/Mahler concert with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic (REVIEW). Video and audio are superb on this new issue. These performances also have been issued on CD, a 6-disk set that also includes a number of modern works inspired by Beethoven. My favorite video of the Beethoven symphonies remains the exciting live performances with Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic (REVIEW).

C Major has elected to issue four Salzburg Festival opening concerts (2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011) in one package. All have previously been issued, and this compilation offers only a minimal saving over the individual issues. Two of these have been mentioned on this site: 2008 (REVIEW), and 2011 (REVIEW).It seems odd that the 4-DVD set isn't issued at a reduced price.

The prime interest in this new VPO/Solti DVD is that is contains Janacek's Sinfonietta, a work not otherwise in the Solti discography. This concert was recorded during the Vienna Festival June 7, 1964, in Theatre an der Wien. The stage is rather drab for a festive occasion. Video is black and white and reasonably clear, but audio is sadly thin and undefined; the important oboe solo in Don Juan is barely audible. Solti first recorded Bartók's masterpiece in 1965 with the London Symphony and made another recording in 1981 with his Chicago Symphony; Arkiv also lists a live performance from Cologne, and there also is a 1995 performance with the World Orchestra for Peace issued on video, a concert that also included Don Juan (REVEW). This new video is of interest to Solti admirers, clearly showing his flamboyant conducting style.

R.E.B. (December 2013)