As I sit here listening to the beautiful third movement of this symphony I say to myself "I've heard many other recordings that are cleaner, more elaborate, better recorded, AND better played". Then by God WHY do I keep coming back to this recording? Simply because Furtwangler doesn't use this piece of music as a spectacle for himself like Herbert Von Karajan has done. The very first piece of classical music I bought was the much overhyped '62 Beethoven cycle by Karajan and after comparing the ninth in that set to Furtwangler's it's easy to see who the REAL maestro is. Furtwangler knew about dynamics and shading and tempo adjustments which are all minor little things that keep a person interested in the music. This recording aside from being mono and having a few audience noises crop up as well as a sloppy horn player in the third movement is my definitive Beethoven Ninth. Warts and all.