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RE: best Beethoven symphonies set

Tastes vary tremendously. If you like very fast performances than the Leibowitz and Harnoncourt sets mentioned might appeal to you (I find the former perfunctory and the latter aggressive/angry). No set I've heard (30 or so) does every symphony well: successful sets get about half right. I would include the '63 Karajan in this group but find the '77 Karajan more consistent with better sound.

The best set I've heard is the Wand/NDR. The conducting and playing are excellent and the sound is superb. Only the 3rd is a let down and he re-recorded it live very successfully the next year (coupled with the Lenore Overture). It is in a more traditional style than the HIP influenced versions so popular these days but I find those overdriven and sterile, and when original instruments are used thin and harsh sounding.

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