At a time when it seems that the contemporary movement for historically informed practices has won over most performers of Ludwig van Beethoven's nine symphonies, along comes Christian Thielemann to spin the clock back to the mindset of the mid-20th century. Interpreting the symphonies with a conventional, even hidebound, approach that bears no sign of late Classical scholarship (streamlined tempos, smaller orchestras, original instrumentation, or other aspects of the way the music was actually played in the composer's time), Thielemann presents a Beethoven that is rather more in the manner of Wilhelm Furtwängler than of, say, John Eliot Gardiner. Listeners who have not yet taken the plunge into authentic period practices may have wondered where the traditionalist could turn for old-fashioned, Teutonic performances that employ a full modern orchestra, conform to expected (i.e., slower) tempos, and generally have a homogenized orchestral blend with thick textures. Here is Thielemann, unapologetic and confident, and for what it is, his set is a solid, dependable cycle that doesn't pretend to be something it isn't, and it will not disappoint its intended audience. Indeed, the Vienna Philharmonic is one of the last bastions of tradition, and Thielemann surely will satisfy all who are nostalgic for the old style. There are some eccentricities of particular interest in the Finale of the "Ninth," where Thielemann surprises with sneak-attack accelerandos, and his breakneck speed in the final pages will leave anyone breathless. But on the whole, this is a conservative's vision of Beethoven, and the live performances really bring the not-so-distant past to life. This deluxe box set offers six CDs and a DVD, Making van Beethoven, stored in a hard cover book with liner notes and a cloth-covered slipcase.