BEETHOVEN FOR ALL / Music Of Power 4783513

. . . this 2-CD set of Beethoven excerpts featuring Daniel Barenboim . . . guarantees authoritative interpretations and consistent quality . . . it provides a suitable introduction to the composer. In symphonic excerpts, Barenboim leads the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, a solid ensemble whose performances feature bold sound and exciting, nuanced playing. The inescapable Fifth Symphony actually sounds both weighty and fresh, and the Sixth "Pastoral" Symphony is full of character. For concertos, the Staatskapelle Berlin provides vivacious support . . . Barenboim also excels as a pianist, particularly in the "Appasionata" Sonata.

. . . crowd-pleasing intentions. And since the symphonies are performed with the youthful ebullience of the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, and the concertos with the urbane refinement of the Staatskapelle Berlin, those intentions are generously fulfilled . . . the most manageable introduction to Beethoven currently available.

. . . "Beethoven für alle" also -- Mission erfüllt.