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  • Ian Passmore

Passmore's Picks #1: The Beethoven Symphonies

Welcome to the first of what will become monthly posts, available on the first Wednesday of every month!


"Passmore's Picks" will be (mostly) ranked lists, dealing with various topics in classical music; and, since it is Beethoven's 250th anniversary, I thought it best to start with the many recorded cycles of his symphonies. Note: this first list is not ranked, because they’re all so wonderfully different.


Here are some of my "desert island" cycles...and by "some," I mean the ones that were readily available on Spotify. Let me know what you think in the comments, whether you agree or disagree with any of my choices, or if you think I left out an essential album. Happy listening! :)


Berlin/Karajan (1963): https://open.spotify.com/album/5U2ZIDU7MISDzXEtFbcZWJ?si=yk9FAQDlSWasX46UlzS-2Q


Berlin/Rattle: https://open.spotify.com/album/5SOoNXBpTvYhTs8uYFZV5j?si=JXvcK0NESMyHaOCZbVZk4A


COE/Harnoncourt: https://open.spotify.com/album/1DgZ1qWpGuiNzd0a5ge7wn?si=e-2qbeQtR4yCs8BwZIzcFQ


Gewandhaus/Chailly: https://open.spotify.com/album/1rhH8zUG5xka0e3ETED4hP?si=d7HFkxdwSb-JrvbKdK50rA


Vienna/Bernstein: https://open.spotify.com/album/2XDmaUDlbYmy3bDRYyKtrt?si=TRfKJ_s_T4CM_HJgnjIWWw


Cleveland/Szell: https://open.spotify.com/album/0KoRsNpzbfKRsqi8S9ZWX7?si=tGAyfl2mR4WewXHn1lIX8A


ORR/Gardiner: https://open.spotify.com/album/0Cv4H2FOUbdPjcq1sI83q5?si=GfRM3JAHRPetiEFShFWzlw


NDR/Wand: https://open.spotify.com/album/68FslMHrCyB3d9MslzOaR5?si=dQxJ18waRcqqQ1bIz_Ya6g


Columbia/Walter: https://open.spotify.com/album/3BdnJYB1Q4tT3wFsuK3wGz?si=kma9LkN9QcOwbBoouZk2JA


Vienna/Thielemann:

- Symphonies 1-3, https://open.spotify.com/album/4TVfxANeXr0fHS1HwALF0b?si=Vf-sintrSh-G3AEIkvF3xw

- Symphonies 4-6, https://open.spotify.com/album/2ovQIIGHQSv3ZiFbCvGmVU?si=CDSBIQJQQOue2Qc4OMDhoA

- Symphonies 7-9, https://open.spotify.com/album/3U2AjB7FZNDhLvjV9Wias2?si=F2poRVZTSiagmlypplkhwA


Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim: https://open.spotify.com/album/7mJ50aka3z9GUPg8grAizs?si=jv_DRQgxSEiQC0BQ0-Xigw



HONORABLE MENTION (i.e. not fully available on Spotify, but you should absolutely check them out!)

- Philharmonia/Klemperer; the EMI studio recordings, specifically

- Vienna/Bohm

- Vienna State Opera Orchestra/Scherchen








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