Author Topic: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9  (Read 162123 times)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #720 on: April 27, 2014, 01:56:56 PM »
I just finished listening to Bernstein conducting the NYPO (the Sony recording). Not bad, but nothing to enthuse over. Lenny would become more 'cosmic' in I later on with the WP. The cannonade from the timps in II is a tad overdone. III is beautiful, the best movement - as it would be in Vienna too. The Finale is well organized, but the vocal forces are under par. There are some bleaters in the Juillard Chorus, and the soloists are hammy.

3 stars out of 5

Aha, it's André!  Bon jour, mon ami. :)

Well, I have both of those Lenny's, and am not wildly enthusiastic over either of them. The second has perhaps the better soloists, but I prefer the enthusiasm of the NYPO to the constant Maestoso of the Wiener's. All other things being equal, I would take Zubin Mehta (with Marilyn Horne) with the NYPO and any of several, probably Abbado with the Viennese. But hey, that's just me. :)  Odd thing is, I'm a huge Lenny fan... :-\

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Offline akiralx

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #721 on: April 28, 2014, 02:26:31 PM »

I just listened to the BRSO/Jansons live recording from Japan, and enjoyed it a lot.  A fairly muscular performance, like the Eroica from the same set, but not quite as relentless as Chailly. 

I don't like the second movement to be too driven (a failing for me with Karajan's otherwise excellent 1963 recording), and here it is finely paced.  The alow movement comes in at 12'38, which is as fast as I can probably accept for a movement marked Adagio molto, though it doesn't sound rushed.  I agree a 20mins wallow is too much but maybe 14mins is more appropriate.

The singing in the Finale is excellent as is the fife and drums episode - I also like that the have left the applause on, but I can do without the wailed 'bravos'...

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #722 on: April 28, 2014, 03:09:35 PM »
I just listened to the BRSO/Jansons live recording from Japan, and enjoyed it a lot.  A fairly muscular performance, like the Eroica from the same set, but not quite as relentless as Chailly. 

I don't like the second movement to be too driven (a failing for me with Karajan's otherwise excellent 1963 recording), and here it is finely paced.  The slow movement comes in at 12'38, which is as fast as I can probably accept for a movement marked Adagio molto, though it doesn't sound rushed.  I agree a 20mins wallow is too much but maybe 14mins is more appropriate.

The singing in the Finale is excellent as is the fife and drums episode - I also like that the have left the applause on, but I can do without the wailed 'bravos'...

Ah, interesting. I haven't run across that one yet, I figure to though. I know what you mean about the second movement sounding 'driven', it is a hard thing to put into words, but you know it when you hear it.

I have this Jansons:



and as it happens I listened to it just a couple of weeks ago. I like it, it doesn't have anything special to say, but it says it nicely. :)

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Online k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #723 on: April 29, 2014, 03:21:14 AM »
Ah, interesting. I haven't run across that one yet, I figure to though. I know what you mean about the second movement sounding 'driven', it is a hard thing to put into words, but you know it when you hear it.

It is one of those ineffable aspects of the art (and something for conductors to explore, and master), that you can have two performances of the same piece, played at the same tempo, and yet they can be of two different characters.
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Offline North Star

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #724 on: April 29, 2014, 03:29:37 AM »
It is one of those ineffable aspects of the art (and something for conductors to explore, and master), that you can have two performances of the same piece, played at the same tempo, and yet they can be of two different characters.
Hear, hear!
Methinks Gurnator might know of a few other similar cases concerning the Op. 125. :)
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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #725 on: April 29, 2014, 03:47:14 AM »
I doubt it not!
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Offline Pat B

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #726 on: August 02, 2014, 09:36:08 PM »
I grabbed that Abbado/Sony (the one from Salzburg) when I found it at a used store recently. After one listen, I don't regard it as highly as Jens does, but it is still very enjoyable, with some distinctive touches. It's well recorded, too.

Offline Leo K.

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Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #727 on: August 27, 2014, 04:03:56 PM »
I've been on a Beethoven 9 binge and it feels great to be with this work again. Thanks to Spotify, I've been able to find and enjoy ninths I haven't heard, and this discussion/thread is the perfect guide :)

Standouts so far:

Karajan (DG) 1977:
Wow, tremendous drive, an unrelenting line that connects the whole work with powerful playing and beautiful sound. I originally had this on cassette in the late 80's but didn't appreciate it at the time. I usually underrate  Karajan, probably because he's such a big name and I resist him in Beethoven. I'm glad I listened to his 1977 account, was blown away. I will try his 1963 one next.

Peter Maag's account:
So lyrical with wonderful blooming peaks of sound in the climaxes. It's a special recording, I enjoyed the performance and will return to it again.

Abbado (DG VPO - this is my imprint recording):
Still my overall favorite!




Offline André

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #728 on: August 27, 2014, 04:11:35 PM »
I totally second your assessment of the Karajan and Maag recordings (very astute description of the latter).

I've always admired but never warmed up to the Abbado ninth (Berlin or Vienna). Or to his Mahler and Bruckner, for that matter.

Offline Leo K.

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Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #729 on: August 28, 2014, 03:29:14 PM »

I totally second your assessment of the Karajan and Maag recordings (very astute description of the latter).

I've always admired but never warmed up to the Abbado ninth (Berlin or Vienna). Or to his Mahler and Bruckner, for that matter.

I haven't heard Abbado's Salzburg BPO 9th and haven't given his BPO box 9th a fair shake yet, but soon I will!

Abbado is perhaps my favorite conductor.

Offline Leo K.

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #730 on: August 28, 2014, 09:13:14 PM »
Well I'll be darn. The Rattle/B9/VPO sounds FANTASTIC (in sound and performance).

Offline Leo K.

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Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #731 on: September 19, 2014, 03:29:46 PM »
Yup, the Karajan '62 and '77 are worth the time and study!

Offline Leo K.

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Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #732 on: September 19, 2014, 03:37:28 PM »
I really like what I've heard of Andre Cluyten's account so far, very excellent playing from the BPO as usual, the pace Cluyten sets brings out some lovely details, especially the change to major at the beginning of the development section.

Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #733 on: October 04, 2014, 05:03:21 PM »
I really like what I've heard of Andre Cluyten's account so far, very excellent playing from the BPO as usual, the pace Cluyten sets brings out some lovely details, especially the change to major at the beginning of the development section.

The Cluytens version of the Choral Symphony is available on YouTube:

Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"
Berliner Philharmoniker / André Cluytens
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/LBTAx07c8X8" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/LBTAx07c8X8</a>

If you're interested, there's a discussion about the Cluytens' Beethoven set in this post. (Well, it's not really a discussion so much as just me prattling on about the set.)

And you can hear all the symphonies in this follow-up post.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 03:17:28 AM by Peter Power Pop »

Offline RebLem

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #734 on: October 10, 2014, 12:16:03 AM »
I never had any Haagen Dazs ice cream believe it or not. I've always been a loyal Mayfield fan. What flavor should I try first in the Haagen Dazs? I'm a big butter pecan fan, have tried their version?
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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #735 on: October 10, 2014, 12:50:41 AM »
Well, I have reached a momentous point in my collection; I have 99 versions (counting a couple on DVD and the Liszt transcription). I want #100 to be something special, not an historic thing in bad sound, but something since the stereo era began anyway. So I am soliciting suggestions....

Please help me pick out something special. I know there are others out there that I have missed. Most of them are true antiques, but somewhere there is a special, more modern recording that I haven't run across yet. Help me find it!  :) 8)
For the last 5 days I have been methodically plodding, when I have time, through this whole damn thread, and am now up to page 31 of 37.  As the above post on ice cream  ;) will show, I have now come close enough to the end, that I have decided to start responding to individual posts as I come across them, a temptation I have resisted until now, and sometimes it took a mighty effort, but I figured someone else may have said the same thing a little later, so I delayed.  Now, however, I just can resist no longer; forgive me if someone has made the following suggestion between pages 31 and 37, but I have a recommendation for a particular performance I have yet to see even mentioned, much less recommended, in this thread.

What I recommend is Tahra CD TAH 549.  It is a performance from 25 MAY 1950 by the Orchestre National de France and the Choer de la RTF.  Soloists are Janine Micheau, Solange Michel, Georges Jouatte, and Charles Cambon.  Conductor: Serge Koussevitzky.  Moderate to fast pacing at a TT: 65:42.  Very good performance, but what is truly unique, in my experience, at any rate, is that the soloists and chorus sing in French.  To me, it makes very persuasive sense.  It actually rhymes much more obviously than the German original, allowing for a different approach to pacing, timing and orchestral pulse.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 12:58:38 AM by RebLem »
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Offline Pat B

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #736 on: October 11, 2014, 10:31:00 PM »
Now, however, I just can resist no longer; forgive me if someone has made the following suggestion between pages 31 and 37, but I have a recommendation for a particular performance I have yet to see even mentioned, much less recommended, in this thread.

No need for forgiveness, but it was indeed mentioned in post 684, along with some other dark horses including a few in languages other than German. I recently received the Matačić recording (sung in Czech), but haven't decided what I think about that aspect yet. Otherwise it's a very good performance, albeit not so astounding that anyone needs to spend big bucks for it.

I'd like to hear that French Koussevitzky, and also the Hebrew Kubelik. I am not eager to hear it in English, though.

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #737 on: October 12, 2014, 02:30:28 AM »
No need for forgiveness, but it was indeed mentioned in post 684, along with some other dark horses including a few in languages other than German. I recently received the Matačić recording (sung in Czech), but haven't decided what I think about that aspect yet. Otherwise it's a very good performance, albeit not so astounding that anyone needs to spend big bucks for it.

I'd like to hear that French Koussevitzky, and also the Hebrew Kubelik. I am not eager to hear it in English, though.
Yes, I saw that, Pat, but the poster just mentioned it, and made no assessment of its quality as a performance.  I think it is an excellent performance and well worth getting, and the singing in French makes, in my view, a positive difference.  So, I'm glad I brought it up.  And obviously, by now, I have completed reading the whole thread.
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Offline Bogey

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #738 on: October 12, 2014, 04:52:26 AM »
Joining Gurn's ritual this morning as I feel like a 9th.  Rolled out Karajan's '63 on Friday and enjoyed it, but thought I would give a new purchase a spin



Here are the particulars of this mono recording swiped from ArkivMusic

Performer:  Wilma Lipp (Soprano), Elisabeth Höngen (Alto), Julius Patzak (Tenor),
Otto Wiener (Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Vienna Pro Musica Orchestra,  Vienna Friends of Music Society Chorus
Date of Recording: 1956
Length: 65 Minutes 8 Secs.

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Recordings that you enjoy: Beethoven Symphony #9
« Reply #739 on: October 12, 2014, 07:06:30 AM »
Yes, I saw that, Pat, but the poster just mentioned it, and made no assessment of its quality as a performance.  I think it is an excellent performance and well worth getting, and the singing in French makes, in my view, a positive difference.  So, I'm glad I brought it up.  And obviously, by now, I have completed reading the whole thread.

Well, Reb, I can't pull out that French language 9th, but in the spirit of Vive la France!, I am spending Sunday morning with these guys:



who certainly have no problem doing France proud when it comes to Beethoven! Choral singing particularly good.

8)

PS: Bill,
Joining Gurn's ritual this morning as I feel like a 9th.  Rolled out Karajan's '63 on Friday and enjoyed it, but thought I would give a new purchase a spin


How did that go? I don't have a Horenstein, there are a couple of them out there and I have been mulling it. Worth dropping a dime?

8)
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