There are *lots* of Beethoven "Emperors" out there, many with the greatest pianists and orchestras of the century. The range of Beethoven interpretation is incredibly wide. You wouldn't want just one interpretation of a major work, because there really isn't a "best." Each excellent or even very good interpretation tells us something new about Beethoven the composer. Since I have a lot of "Emperors," I admit I probably wouldn't have bought this CD, had it not been for the fact that I'm a Cleveland Orchestra groupie. For me, it's by far the finest orchestra I've ever heard, and I'm not just saying that because I was born in Cleveland (although, I admit, it helps). Still, I was pleasantly surprised by Ashkenazy, whose Beethoven I could take or leave alone. Technically, of course, I can't complain, but I liked Ashkenazy's alertness to the drama of the score, balanced by the chamber-like clarity and electricity of the orchestra. Is it better than Gilels/Szell, Barenboim/Klemperer, Barenboim/Barenboim, Cliburn/Reiner, Curzon/Knappertsbusch, etc.? Probably not, but it's still a fine account, well worth listening to. At this late date, after decades of trying, I can probably say that I will never like the Choral Fantasy, so I won't say anything else here.