Various Artists

Best Beethoven 50

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AllMusic Review by

EMI's 2011 compilation Best Beethoven 50 is a triple-disc introduction to the major works of Ludwig van Beethoven, presented in easy to digest selections. The set is organized into three categories: disc 1 is concentrated on familiar movements from the nine symphonies, widely regarded as Beethoven's greatest achievements; disc 2 features familiar movements from the concertos and sonatas; and disc 3 is a sampler of chamber pieces, songs, and choral music. In a body of work as vast and significant as Beethoven's, it's difficult to choose the most representative selections and regrettable that whole works couldn't be included. This would have been desirable so newcomers would know that the symphonies, concertos, and sonatas are much longer than they appear here, and that other significant compositions were excluded, such as Beethoven's overtures and music from his only opera, Fidelio. Still, this set doesn't pretend to be a comprehensive survey, and what it does offer is an easy approach to works that otherwise can be a little daunting for beginners to research and learn. The performances are taken from EMI's deep back list, and range from analog recordings made in the 1960s to digital tracks of the 1990s. As a result, there is some unevenness of audio quality, and the sound will be a drawback for audiophiles. But this collection was intended for beginners and casual classical fans, so it will let them become familiar with the music before upgrading to complete and better sounding recordings.

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Quintet for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn & bassoon in E flat, Op. 16
1 5:48
String Quartet No. 1 in F, Op. 18 No. 1
2 3:54
String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18 No. 4
3 3:26
Clarinet Trio in B flat, Op. 11
4 5:12
Duo for clarinet & bassoon in C, WoO 25
5 3:51
Septet in E flat, Op. 20
6 3:11
Trio for flute, violin & viola in D, Op. 25
7 3:22
8 2:07
9 1:19
Piano Trio No. 5 in D, Op. 70 No. 1 "Ghost"
10 5:16
String Quartet No. 10 in E flat, Op. 74 "Harp"
11 8:37
Sextet for 3 violins, 2 horns & cello in E flat, Op. 81b
12 5:37
Octet in E flat, Op. 103
13 3:48
14 1:45
15 2:46
16 1:25
Mass in C, Op. 86
17 5:34
Missa solemnis in D, Op. 123
18 5:01
19 2:56
blue highlight denotes track pick