I stopped paying much attention to Beethoven in 1981, after having a quasi-religious experience while listening to Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor. I never stopped listening; I simply stopped listening properly. I now glory in his rediscovery. I bought the Hogwood/Lubin/AAM PC box set in 1990 out of a sense of duty. It’s an astonishing achievement. Here is the 1st movement of No. 5 in Eb major. What I most like about this performance is the total abandonment of restraint within a set of broadly Mozartian assumptions.
For the Symphonies, though, Mrs Gabb has bought me the 1963 Karajan set. John Kersey recommends it; and, while she won’t let me remove the cellophane wrapping until Christmas Eve, and will then nag me about the state of my hearing whenever I play the disks, the YouTube previews sound very exciting.
Next year, I may give up on torturing my women with the flute, and take to the piano.