Barenboim's Beethoven

This seems to be the year of ''Daniel Barenboim Beethoven.'' Pianist Barenboim has recently completed a cycle of the concertos with Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic on two consecutive evenings. Now he and his Orchestre de Paris are offering a cycle of the complete symphonies and the violin concertos (with Itzhak Perlman, tonight).

What does this have to offer? Barenboim has less to say about these works than one might have expected. The Orchestre de Paris lacks the needed tonal allure and special sound to make a cycle of Beethoven symphonies any sort of special affair.

The Orchestre de Paris has no glaring weaknesses, and no particular strengths. Is the fact that Barenboim wanted to do these hallowed works in New York with his orchestra enough to justify this cycle? Three more concerts remain in the series, tonight through Friday, all at Carnegie Hall.

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