It’s finished and in one package: The Minnesota Orchestra’s five-year project to record all nine of the Beethoven symphonies has culminated in a five-disc box set that was recently released by BIS, the Swedish record label.
The Orchestra Hall box office is selling the set for $40 to walk-up customers. I also checked Applause, the classical subsidiary of Cheapo Records, and discovered that “a few” box sets can be had for $32.99.
All of the symphonies were recorded in Orchestra Hall between April 2004 and January 2008, with Osmo Vanska conducting the orchestra. BIS began releasing albums — five in all — in January 2005, and all were critical successes. The third album, which was devoted to the big Ninth Symphony, captured a Grammy nomination after its release in October 2006. The final album of the Second and Seventh Symphonies was nominated for a Classic FM Gramophone Award after its release last month.
The box set and the albums were all recorded as Super Audio CDs (SACD), using surround-sound technology, among other things. In practical terms, however, the BIS SACDs are hybrids that are playable on standard CD players.
Of course, you can still buy each of the albums separately. They’re available at most stores selling classical recordings and also can be found in the merchandise area of the Minnesota Orchestra’s website.