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  • Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 / Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 ~ Solti
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Beethoven: Symphony No. 5 / Shostakovich: Symphony No. 9 ~ Solti Live

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Audio CD, Live, June 14, 1991
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
  • Conductor: Sir Georg Solti
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich, Ludwig Van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (June 14, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Live
  • Label: London / Decca
  • ASIN: B00000E4MY
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #330,805 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Format: Audio CD
among a plethora of recordings, the least well known part of Solti's output are the live concerts recorded late in his career. Here we have a concert with the Vienna Phil. form 1990, when the conductor was 77. As he aged, the fiery Solti stopped running on twelve cylinders, and some of his late recordings show a marked decline in energy. Not here, however. the Shostakovich Ninth represents Solti's late-coming to the composer, and I'd say this is one of his most engaging readings, full of vitality and wit. The VPO has resisted playing -- or at least recording -- much Shostakovich, yet they couldn't be more ebullient in this score, which was damned by the authorities when it appeared in 1945. The composer's sin was to write a work full of sunny relief after the long struggles of war when what the Soviet authorities wanted was triumphal bombast.

Much as I like Gergiev's Shostakovich, he is too serious in the Ninth, draining all the fun out of the music. Among non-Russians, Bernstein's two versions, on Sony and DG, are full of life, but solti is actually more exciting and buoyant, hard as that may be to credit. Viennese charm goes a long way. Decca's sound is close and detailed, with just a touch of digital over-brightness in loud passages. audience noise is negligible to non-existent. anyone who loves this score should seek this recording out.

As for the Beethoven Fifth, music that the Viennese were born to play, I didn't have high expectations. solti always lost his nerve in Beethoven, becoming overly respectful and conventional in almost every instance I've come across. He's full of vigor here, however, and keeps the first movement going in propulsive fashion. Textures tend to be lean, in the modern fashion, certainly leaner than we get from Karajan in 1963 (his best version).
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