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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 'Choral'

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 'Choral'

September 5, 2006

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Product Details

  • Original Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Label: LSO Live
  • Copyright: 2006 London Symphony Orchestra
  • Total Length: 1:08:09
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B000QQTZ22
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #251,060 Paid in Albums (See Top 100 Paid in Albums)

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pater Ecstaticus on November 18, 2006
Format: Audio CD
With this magnificently fresh but powerful Ninth Symphony by Ludwig van Beethoven (and maybe with this whole cycle in general, but I don't know, because up till now I have heard only this recording), maestro Bernard Haitink has delivered what could maybe be called the 'ultimate' in this work, to stand aside any of the best.
This recording surely is a culmination and a crowning achievement of, firstly, a more than 50 year conducting career; secondly, a vision of a conductor who has been 'working with Beethoven' for more than 30 years (when Bernard Haitink recorded his first Beethoven cycle); and thirdly, the growing insights of period instrument practice slowly melting with 'traditional' performing tradition, cumulating into what could only be called 'the best of both worlds'. But the 'live' element must probably be taken into account here as well, as it is known that, generally, a 'live' Bernard Haitink is a 'better' one, coaxing the maestro to give his utmost. The man Bernard Haitink, it is known, really lives with and for his music, truly coming alive before the orchestra with attentive present audience to witness the man and the maestro at recreating the fruit of genius that is the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (Gustav Mahler, Anton Bruckner, ...).
The orchestral playing is - as is so often the case with Bernard Haitink - absolutely clear, honest, with noble sentiment, but without any excess, which is good. There is no unnecessary lingering or dawdling at any time in this recording, always going purposely forward toward our goal. Above this, like a Dutch commentator said, we have 'warm strings, layering of different orchestral voices and transparent woodwinds and brass.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Matt on November 3, 2006
Format: Audio CD
This crowning glory of the Haitink/LSO Beethoven cycle is truly a magisterial account. Haitink has taken on board the strictures of the period brigade while retaining the weight and heart of the more traditional Beethoven protagonists. The result is a Beethoven 9 of power yet humanity, of intimacy yet impetus.

Don't sniff at the sharp-edged textures of the 1st movement, nostalgic for the denser, more homogenous sound of earlier recordings. For this movement has ample weight and profundity, which is only enhanced by the clarity of interplay between the various sections of the LSO. Equally to the point, it is the starting point of Haitink's grand architectural understanding of this piece. (An analogy can perhaps be drawn with his approach to the first movement of the Brahms 4 also on LSO live.) He is taking us on a journey which conceuptualises this grandest of symphonies as one whole, not four (or even five) different parts.

The second movement perfectly balances the deep-seated anxiety inherent in the music with is elements of joy and hope. The LSO's playing is crisp and egdy.

In the wrong hands, the third movement of the 9th can be - let's face it - boring. But here, the tempi are efficient. Not only does Haitink not, by taking this movement quite briskly, lose the heart of these gorgeous variations; but he brings it to the fore. The LSO strings are sweet and rich as we have come to expect, the sound of the orchestra as a whole pure, deep and affecting.

The fourth movement is stunning. Haitink and the orchestra balance sounds in unexpected but wholly convincing ways.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on January 26, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Distinguished Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink's latest, truly relevatory, traversal of the Beethoven symphonies ends with this triumphant, enthralling interpretation of the 9th "Choral" Symphony in D minor. His magnificient interpretation is unquestionably one of the finest accounts of this symphony ever recorded, and definitely the best I have heard since Claudio Abbado's two distinguished recordings on Sony and Deutsche Grammophon with the Berliner Philharmoniker, using the same Jonathan Del Mar-edited Barenreiter Edition. Although strongly influenced by period instrument practice, Haitink strikes a fine balance between that and more traditional accounts of this symphony, without ignoring the swift tempi required of it from the relatively new Barenreiter Edition, and yet, yielding an awe inspiring, truly magisteral performance (Personally, I've fallen in love with Haitink's interpretation, finding it somewhat more engrossing than either of Abbado's.). Indeed, this latest recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony may be the most dramatic, most exciting account that I've heard, and one that's worthy of all the critical and popular acclaim it has earned so far. Moreover, the sound quality is exemplary thanks to the superb job in recording this performance live during two concerts in late April 2006 by producer James Mallinson and his team of engineers on behalf of the LSO Live label.

Haitink's interpretation is a no-nonsense, technically brilliant, yet still most mesmerizing, account of this symphony. He opens with a vividly intense first movement (Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso) dominated by exquisite playing from the winds and strings.
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