Incl: D.Barenboim III • I.Biret • S.Kovacevich • S.Lipkin • A.Lucchesini • A.Øland • A.Sako • C.Sheppard • D.A.Wehr • G.Willems
1997 - 2000? - ABC
The piano used was an Australian Stuart & Sons which differs from a standard grand piano in a few salient points and promises, among other factors, greater dynamics and increased sustain. (Nigel Tufnel approves: This piano's number of pedals goes to four!)
Availability - directly from Australia.
1995 - 2001 - T.I.M.
1999 - 2001 - Stradivarius
1992 - 2003 - EMI
1998 - 2003 - Nami / Livenotes
Available in Japan in 12 volumes on 12 CDs. Very complete, incl. Diabelli Variations, the WoO 47 Sonatas, et al.
David Allen Wehr
1998 - 2004 - Connoisseur Society
Piano used was a Yamaha CF111S.
Seymour Lipkin (stereo)
2002 - 2004 - Newport Classics
Recorded at the Curtis Institute where Lipkin is on the piano and chamber music faculty. (He also teaches at Juilliard.) The cycle is available on CD as three sets of three discs or on one CD ROM as mp3 which comes with the complete score, as well.
2003 - 2004 - Romeo Records
1994 - 2005 - IBA
This sonata cycle is part of a Beethoven Edition that launched Idil Biret's own label, Idil Biret Archive. It's practically (if not technically) a sub-label of Naxos, the company that has brought her from relative obscurity to becoming a household name. The Beethoven Edition will include not only the sonatas and concertos but also Liszt's Symphony transcriptions which are being re-released on CD for the first time since Biret took them down on LP for EMI in the mid-eighties. The whole thing is also available as one massive 20 CD box.
2003 - 2005 - Camerata
Available (partially?) from Japan.
Daniel Barenboim III
2005 - EMI (DVD)
Live performances of the complete sonatas at the Staatsoper Unter der Linden in Berlin, paired with masterclasses. The soundtrack (as it were) has since been released on Decca, as part of their "Beethoven for All" series.
This listing of all Beethoven Sonata Cycles will continue as more sets reach completion or as I find more information about sets already completed.* There are certainly plenty sets under way that should or may reach completion soon: Among them Angela Hewitt (Hyperion), Igor Tchetuev (Caro Mitis), Jonathan Biss (Onyx), Paavali Jumppanen (Ondine), Yusuke Kikuchi (Triton) et al. I will also add a selection of historically important attempted cycles that were never finished but include >20 sonatas. That would add Rudolf Serkin (CBS, 10 sonatas missing), Bruce Hungerford (Vanguard / Piano Classics, also 10 sonatas missing), Emil Gilels (DG, opp.2/1, 14/1, 54, 78, 111), and Glenn Gould (CBS/Sony, opp.7, 22, 49, 53, 79, 81a, 90 missing, op.106 separate, opp.7 [partly], 49/1, 101 available on CBC recordings).
* If you count, as I did, Backhaus II and Arrau II as complete, despite one and two (respectively) missing sonatas. I do not count Walter Gieseking (tapes of 4, 5, 7, 20, 22 for a radio cycle are lost, a studio cycle for EMI was missing seven sonatas when he died), Wilhelm Kempff "0" (Polydor, opp.2/3, 22, 27/1, 28, 31/2, 101 missing).
The (Great) Incomplete Cycles
Part 1: 1935 - 1969
Part 2: 1967 - 1974
Part 3: 1977 - 1989
Part 4: 1990 - 1996
Part 5: 1996 - 1999
Part 7: 2006 - 2009
Ronald Brautigam Special
Part 8: 2010 - 2013
Part 9: 2014 - onward
If you have additional information about recording dates, availability, cover art -- or corrections and additions -- your input is much appreciated.
This survey is meant to list all complete sets of Beethoven's Piano Sonatas and their availability in different markets, not to review them.
Discographies on ionarts: Bach Organ Cycles | Beethoven Piano Sonata Cycles I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX | Bruckner Symphony Cycles | Dvořák Symphony Cycles | Shostakovich Symphony Cycles | Dvořák Symphony Cycles | Sibelius Symphony Cycles