It’s been 23 years since the last Deutsche Grammophon Beethoven Complete Edition was released in 1997 to coincide with the somewhat arbitrary 170th anniversary of the composer’s death. Since then, a fair amount of scholarly water has flowed under this particular composer’s bridge, so what was formerly an 87-disc set now comes in at an eye-watering 118 discs, three Blu-ray audio (the Karajan 1963 symphony cycle, the Kempff stereo set of the piano sonatas and the Amadeus’s survey of the string quartets), plus DVDs of Bernstein’s powerful Wiener Staatsoper Fidelioin Otto Schenk’s staging with Kollo and Janowitz, and Carlos Kleiber conducting the Concertgebouw in Symphonies Nos 4 and 7.

It’s not all new discoveries, although there are plenty of turn-ups for the books, but much of the set’s wide-ranging curation has focused on alternative interpretations recognising that Karajan, for all his virtues, is not the be-all and end-all where Beethoven is concerned. That means four cycles of the symphonies, several trawls through the piano sonatas, ditto for the string quartets, plus a whopping 16 discs devoted to “classic” and “period” performances.

It all comes in a beautiful cube of a box with...

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