I’ve owned the Roger Norrington and the London Classical Players set of Beethoven symphonies on CD for over 10 years. I love it, but I’d like to buy another set or two. I also own a CD of Carlos Kleiber conducting the Vienna Philharmonic for the 5th and and historic recording of Furtwangler conducting the 5th/7th.
So, where should I start looking? I’ll probably be buying the actual CDs rather than downloading unless the price difference is substantial.
I love the Toscanini set, with the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He often goes at break-neck speed for the fast movements, and I think they’re stunning. Vibrant. Magical.
Bruno Walter, if you can find it. And I absolutely love the 9th Symphony conducted by Leopold Stokowski.
Check out the Deutsche Grammaphon site if you’re looking for specific works. I find that they generally have the best combination of composition, recording quality and performance.
Personally, I love the Kleiber 5th and 7th but also appreciate some of the piano pieces by Lang Lang and Helene Grimaud.
Nothing can beat the Szell/Cleveland recordings.
I’ve heard a lot of complete cycles, and my favorite remains the 1963 Karajan set.