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Sym 9 Choral

Ludwig Van Beethoven Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 56.25
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1. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso
2. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Molto vivace
3. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato - Adagio
4. Symphony No. 9 In D Minor, Op. 125 'Choral': Presto - Allegro ma non troppo - Allegro Assai - Allegro assai vivace - alla marcia - Andante maestoso - Allegro - Allegro energico, sempre ben marcato - Allegro ma non tanto - Poco adagio - Prestissimo

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No single performance will ever tell us everything we need to know about a masterpiece like the Beethoven Ninth, but this one comes close. The inspired intensity of everyone involved--at the postwar reopening of the Bayreuth Festival in 1951--comes across very vividly in this new transfer. Just hear the way Furtwángler evokes the atmosphere of chaos coalescing into order at the opening of the first movement and you can tell a superior musical and spiritual consciousness is at work. Except for the poor first horn, whose bloopers are the main detriment, the orchestra, soloists, and chorus (recorded clearly but at a heavenly distance) all hold up their parts extremely well. The solo singers are particularly convincing. This is a very special recording, recognized as a classic when it was first issued and still indispensable. --Leslie Gerber

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent! June 7 2004
Format:Audio CD
I first heard this magnificent Beethoven 9th in the early 1970's on a poor Seraphim LP transfer, never dreaming it could sound as good as it does here. That first hearing turned my entire view of great orchestral interpretation upside down. Previously, I had felt that Toscanini's was the finest interpretation. But by the time I reached the first mvt. coda of this live 9th from Bayreuth, my perceptions of musical eloquence had been changed forever. I simply had no idea of what power, breadth, majesty, grandeur and originality this music contained until I heard Furtwangler.
This is one of about 10 Beethoven 9th recordings by Furtwangler, all of them "live." They are all fascinating. There is a general consensus that Furtwangler's three finest readings are this one, the 1942 BPO from Berlin, and the 1954 Philharmonia from Lucerne. Here is a summary:
1. This Furtwangler (1951) with the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra & Chorus (Schwarzkopf, Hongen, Hopf, & Edelmann). It is less extreme than the 1942 and has more energy and passion than the 1954. Schwarzkopf is superb, Edelmann is excellent. The other Furtwangler 9ths listed here are better played (no wavering horn player in the Adagio), but this one has a special sense of occasion that makes it unique. The CD transfer here is identical to the one in the complete Beethoven set on EMI. So if you already have that one, there is no need to buy this one.
2. Furtwangler/BPO 1942, Bruno Kittel Choir, with Tilla Briem, Elisabeth Hongen, Peter Anders, and Rudolph Watzke (Music & Arts CD 4049). This is the most impassioned and dramatic of ALL 9ths. The BPO plays as if possessed, and the singers (except for Briem's shaky high notes) are superb.
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This certainly is not a perfect recording, but its plusses so far outweigh its downsides that to give this anything other than 5 stars seems ridiculous. From a technical side, I have to say that I was VERY impressed with the sound. Honestly, its hard for me to tell that this is in mono, and I don't have bad hearing. This has wonderful dynamic range and everything comes through with crystal clarity. The only negatives from the sound quality are the acoustics of the Festspielhaus, which seem to put too much emphasis on the tympani and (I think this is due more to acoustics than performance) too little on the chorus. Thank you EMI for doing such a fine job restoring such an important recording! The symphony is quite well performed as well. The Bayreuth orchestra projects Furtwangler's concept very clearly, and has a wonderfully "meaty" sound. Some previous reviewers have made a big fuss about the less than perfect horn solo in the third movement, but this did not really bother me. The chorus is not really great (the Bruno Kittel choir gives a much better performance in Furtwangler's '42 recording), but it is satisfactory. Otto Edelmann is truly fantastic here. I cannot imagine his part being better performed, and I have to say that he tops even Walter Berry's wonderful performance from Karajan's '62 recording. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf as is to be expected provides an excellent performance, especially in the a capella quartet towards the end, but in my mind a still better performance of her part was turned in by Gundula Janowitz, again from Karajan's '62 recording. Overall though, I think one could make the case that here is the best quartet on record, although I'm not 100% sure that I would agree with that. Read more ›
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This is a subjective review of this recording --like most others here, I guess. I have to say that this is --up to this moment-- the best recording I have 'encountered.' Sure, it's hard to ignore this particular one as it has received so many, many glowing reviews; even the people not liking it very much do agree that it's a special recording nonetheless and give it a decent rating --there'll always be exceptions.
If --IF-- you can stand MONO sound, this will be the one to go for. It has power, energy, inspiration, perfect timing, and a radiant finale that will shoot you right among the stars --sorry for this slightly bombastic praise.
Needless to say, the vocals are great!
This one is often compared with Karajan's best version --be careful, he has more recordings of this symphony-- and with Böhm's ninth. All of these three have their fair shair of flaws, but if you really can endure the mono sound, then go for Furtwangler; although the vocals of Karajan's version may be deemed 'better.'
This version only gets better with multiple listenings --like a lot of Beethoven {and other great composers}, so I don't think you should give it a quick listening at your classical dealer --or even Amazon, for that matter; listen to it; delve into the music.
Have a great time and live a long and happy life.
Beware: once addicted to classical music, a lot of other music will lose its appeal. I think that's good. Who listens to that [stuff] anyway?
Hope you give Beethoven a try.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Symphony Of All Time Jan. 3 2003
Format:Audio CD
In this recording, the monumental last symphony of Beethoven is captured in pure excellence. The label for these series of recording is the greatest of the century. There is no question that this is the one and only Beethoven's Ninth. After World War II, the concert halls were once again opened in Germany and to celebrate the end of so terrible a time, conductor Furtwangler set about presenting Beethoven's 9th. Many have seen this symphony live, or at least heard about it. It is commonly known that it's Beethoven's grandest achievement. For the ignorant, it is considered pompous, grandiose, a conductor's showpiece. But for the truly appreciative of music, for those who have made classical music their passion and their religion, Beethoven's 9th is a great evocation of freedom, peace and universal brotherhood. Beethoven was the original Romantic composer, and he must have been aware of the deep impact his shockingly new symphony took in the music scene. The structure to the 9th is in four movements and it is in the key of D Minor, denoting seriousness. The first three allegro, vivace, adagio cantabile and the last movement strikes up the orchestra with its most dominant theme- the Ode To Joy. Taken from a poem by German freethinker, Schiller, it is a cry for peace and for the unity of all humankind. Beethoven appropriately set the words to music and individual parts for a bass, a tenor and a trio featuring a soprano. The full chorus joins in with dynamic majesty.
The Ninth is something of a mystery. It begins with something unexplainable, something fatalistic, the first movement has a powerful scope, a chaotic whirl of strings and trumpet, before finally subsiding. The second movement is a rapid scherzo-like theme, which was used for some time in the NBC Evening News.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbeleivable
Quite simply astounding even with the playing errors. Although contrary to some reviews here I have sat through the 3rd movement and heard nothing sounding like bloopers in... Read more
Published on April 23 2006 by "georgekepes"
5.0 out of 5 stars A Benchmark recording despite many flaws
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,... Read more
Published on June 29 2004 by Panagiotis
4.0 out of 5 stars beethoven's *cough* ninth *cough cough* symphony
I am NOT a classical music expert. I bought this version of the 9th based on the many knowledgeable reviews posted here. I am happy I bought it. HOWEVER... Read more
Published on Dec 21 2003 by kevin m antonio
4.0 out of 5 stars a great recording, meaby the greatest
I've heard Beethoven many time, his 7th Symphony was the first work of classical music I ever heard, and specially his two masterworks (the Missa and this Symphony) are my... Read more
Published on Dec 25 2002 by "parsifal125"
5.0 out of 5 stars INCREDIBLE
I first encountered this recording in the Franklin Mint set of the 100 greatest recordings of all time, and I was ecstatic when I saw that it was available on CD. Read more
Published on Oct. 2 2002 by Jeff P Goyette
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Record of The Greatest Beethoven's Work.
The 9th is, for me, the greatest work ever produced by the human mind. And, for many years, I have bought more than thirty records. And this is the best of all. Read more
Published on Aug. 25 2002 by "rinaldi36"
5.0 out of 5 stars "In the beginning . . ."
This recording (that is so much more than a recording) seems to grow greater in stature while I am listening to other recordings of the Ninth, to Karajan, Solti, Barenboim or Bohm. Read more
Published on Feb. 18 2002 by Fan of Fred Williamson
5.0 out of 5 stars Unsurpassed.
There is a later recording conducted by Furtwangler, from the 1954 Lucern Festival with the Philharmonia Orchestra. Technically, it is a marvel. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2002 by Howard Grady Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars three excellent no. 9's
I own three recordings of Beethoven's ninth symphony: Furtwangler's legendary recording with the Choir and Orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival (ASIN: B00000GCA7), Karajan's... Read more
Published on Feb. 9 2002 by NotATameLion
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