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20 of the best Beethoven recordings of all time

We name the best albums and recordings every Beethoven lover needs to add to their collection

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Here are, in our opinion, the best Beethoven recordings and albums of all time. Enjoy…

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1) For the Beethoven’s symphonies, the best recording is Karajan’s refined 1962 version with the Berlin Philharmonic on Deutsche Grammophon.

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2) Otherwise, Nikolaus Harnoncourt and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe offer freshness in their interpretations of Beethoven’s symphonies (Warner).

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3) Carlos Kleiber and the Vienna Philharmonic are untouchable in their recordings of Beethoven’s Symphonies Nos 5 & 7 (DG).

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4) For the best recordings of Beethoven’s piano concertos, plump for Murray Perahia and the Concertgebouw/Haitink (Sony).

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5) Another great recording is Alfred Brendel with Vienna Philharmonic under Simon Rattle (Warner).

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6) Artur Schnabel’s recording occupies the complete Beethoven piano sonatas top spot. (Harmonia Mundi).

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7) Alongside Stephen Kovacevich, whose Beethoven Piano Sonatas are equally stunning (Warner).

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8) Andreas Staier is superb in his recordings of the Diabelli Variations (Harmonia Mundi).

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9) Alfred Brendel rules the bagatelles (Decca).

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10) Quartetto Italiano (Decca) is a safe bet for Beethoven’s string quartets.

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11) As is the Takács Quartet (Decca).

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12) We’d take Isabelle Faust and the Orchestra Mozart under Claudio Abbado for Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Harmonia Mundi).

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13) Itzhak Perlman joins the Philharmonia under Guilini in a stellar recording of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto (Warner).

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14) In Beethoven’s violin sonatas, Alina Ibragimova and pianist Cédric Tiberghien reign (Hyperion).

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15) For Beethoven’s Triple Concerto, who could resist David Oistrakh, Mstislav Rostropovich and Sviatoslav Richter with the Berlin Phil/Karajan (Warner)?

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16) Marvel at Daniel Barenboim, Pinchas Zucherman and Jacqueline du Pré in Beethoven’s piano trios (Warner).

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17) Go modern with Steven Isserlis and Robert Levin’s brilliant recordings of Beethoven’s cello sonatas (Hyperion).

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18) Trio Zimmermann have the best recordings of Beethoven’s string trios (BIS).

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19) For Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, let’s hear it for the Arnold Schoenberg Choir, Concentus Musicus Wien and Harnoncourt (Sony).

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20) Nina Stemme, Jonas Kaufmann, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra and Abbado offer a thrilling recording of Beethoven’s Fidelio (Decca).

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