10 Box Set of Beethoven - DG/Poyldor - 1972

Someone just gave me a 10 box set (10 boxes, not 1 box with 10 records) of Beethoven that was produced by Deutsche Grammophon in 1972 for the 200th anniversary of Beethoven's birth. It was produced by Polydor in the US. Each box has 5 or 6 albums in it, along with a large format booklet on works in that box. It also came with a large format book of his life and works. It is in English, but it seems to have been translated from German.

I have not found out much about this set. I can look for information on each individual performance but that is a lot of work. This looks like a majority (if not all) of the DG recordings of Beethoven, re-pressed and re-packaged for the set.

Anyone familiar with this set? Are the pressing really good or just average? Were they done from original masters? Were they re-edited for this edition. etc.

Most of the records have hardly ever been played and some may be unplayed.

Any information would be appreciated, especially if they happen to be rare and valuable. Should I buy my dream home in Maui? Probably not, but any info would be appreciated.

Three of the boxes say Part 1, but I do not have a part 2 to go with them.

The 10 boxes are

I Symphonies and Overture - Part 1
II Symphonies and Overture - Part 2
III The Concertos
IV Piano Sonatas
V Music for the Stage
VI Choral Music
VII String Quartets - Part 1
VIII Music for Piano - Part 1
IX Chamber Music
X Music for Violin and Cello - Part 1
I have some of these i bought at Goodwill. Pretty good sound. Wish i had bought more of them.
Box sets going for the cheap at Goodwill is one of the things I look most forward to shopping for these days.
Turns out their are actually 17 boxes in the set. I have seen them going for $50+ per box new or near mint. I cannot, however, find out much about the pressings.
I get to see them quite often in unattended attics of friends and their neighbors that give away unwanted items for free. Otherwise at goodwill or salvation army stores they could be purchased for $3 per box. If I happen to desire to purchase similar item I would usually negotiate to knock-off another buck off box or claim to have only 'few bux left in my pocket' to pick up the whole thing for buck-per-box.
I came accross Tchaikovsky 3 box sets for $2 and it was $4 short:-)
I wonder what it cost when new....

This was a set produced for the Beethoven Bicentennial. At the time, you signed up via mail and they would send 1 volume per month. The pressings are comparable to DG individual LPs of that era. The initial offer was only for 10 volumes, then there was an option for an additional 7. On eBay, most sales are for items from the 1st ten volumes. There is also a large format book index of all the pieces, though this is quite rare and I've only seen available occasionally. The initial 10 volumes were popular at the time (kind of the classic bound books in homes of people that never read them). My parents got the 1st 10 volumes, and I rounded out the collection a while back via eBay, $100 for all 17 volumes.
Thanks Elee. That seems consistent with the bits and pieces I have been gathering, but adds good detail. The subscription sales explains why there are so many sets out there. I do have the book, although it is not on my coffee table. Seems like these were really just standard re-issues of the DG portfolio in a convenient set sold by subscription. For Polydor/DG just a way to get revenue for not a lot of extra work.

Lowrider57 - thanks for the link. I missed that one. Looks like the price there is about $40 a box, which is consistent with what I have seen from dealers. Of oourse they do say that the 8 boxes are the complete "rare" set. Individuals are, of course lower, and Goodwill, etc. are rock bottom, but you are never quite sure of the quality of the disks. However, there is a good chance that many have not been played all that much, other than the symphonies perhaps.

Looks like, as with the other albums my friend gave me, I need to cherry pick the things of interest and figure out what to do with the rest.

The book I am talking about is not the maroon book on Beethoven's life and works, which came with the 1st 10 volumes. There is a separate volume listing all the pieces on all 17 volumes, cross referenced so that you could locate them without having to pull out the Lp volumes. If you have that, consider yourself lucky. I have never seen it, and the only time I saw it on eBay, the seller wanted WAY too much.
Lowrider57 - I agree. My friend has never played them. There are several other boxed sets and single albums. I also got things like the sound track from Risky Business, with is worth it just for the cover :)
Fantastic gift! Don't break up the set, and don't sell it!! To own every work by, arguably, the greatest composer of all time is a great thing, IMO. Why not use this as an opportunity to expand your musical horizons in a big way? The string quartets are glorious.
Elee - you are right, I have the big book, not the cross reference one. Thanks for the clarification.

Frogman - since it appears I cannot buy my vacation home on Maui, I will keep the set. I already have some of this music, like the Symphonies by George Szell and Cleveland Orchestra, the piano concertos, and some of the string quartets, so I will have to compare these new ones to the ones I have. My 10 boxes are not the whole collection, but 40 lps will probably get me through Frankenstorm.
Enjoy them. We spend so much energy discussing differences between tubes/ss, analog/digital, etc. The differences between Szell/Cleveland's and Karajan/Berlin's takes on the symphonies is huge by comparison.
Frogman - I have always liked the Szell recordings. I am just working through the Karajan ones, although in the past they have not been my favorites, but now that I have them all, I need to do some listening.

HDtracks has the nine symphonies in 24/96 by Daniel Barenboim and his West-Eastern Divan Orchestra. Any thoughts on them? I am not sure I really want to digitize all my classical and there are times when listening through the computer is just so much more convenient. Thanks for any insight.
Dtc, I too like the Szell recordings. Personally, I generally find a certain honesty (like it or not) in the recordings of an an orchestra with long-standing traditions performing the music of native composers. The Berlin Phil is an orchestra with a very long history and tradition, and one of the greatest orchestras in the world by any measure. Just as it is rare to find a recording by a European orchestra of the music of an American composer like Gershwin or Copland that holds up as well (musically) as the recordings of the same music by a great American orchestra, it is rare to find a recording that tops a great German orchestra playing the music of Beethoven. I know it is a controversial comment and there are many good Beethoven recordings by non-German orchestras, but those of the Berlin Phil are really tough to beat. The Karajan/Berlin recordings are great in their "understanding" of Beethoven; although the Furtwangler/Berlin are even better, and considered by many to be the pinnacle. I don't know the Baremboin set, but I have heard other recordings by the West-Eastern Divan orchestra, and while a very admirable endeavor from a political standpoint, the orchestra is simply not as polished nor competent as many of the top orchestras.

My comments are strictly about the performances and not the sound quality of the recordings.
Thanks Frogman. That is pretty consistent with things I have read from others. Prior to this boxed set, the only Karajan/Beethoven I have had has been on CD and I think the transfers were not very good. So I have kept with the Szell. Everyone seems to agree on the Furtwangler but I have never come across them. I need to find time for some serious listening. Thanks.