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Symphony 9


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Audio CD, June 10, 1997
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Editorial Reviews

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Drahos ends his successful series with a surprisingly fine Ninth. The third-movement Adagio seems pushed along a bit, although not fatally so. The remainder of the performance combines fine forward impulse with the same clarity that has distinguished this series. Not only can you hear everything, but the musicians seem to be playing with outstanding involvement. The solo singers are all good to excellent; Otelli's voice is a bit light but he still manages his opening recitative with dignity and conviction. And whatever the Esterházy Chorus is, it's well trained and, even if a bit small, it rises to its challenges successfully. Overall this is a truly fine bargain Ninth, and the booklet even includes a translation of the text. --Leslie Gerber

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Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso14:46Album Only
listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": II. Molto vivace13:45Album Only
listen  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderato13:04Album Only
listen  4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": IV. Finale: Presto23:16Album Only

Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 10, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Naxos
  • ASIN: B0000014E1
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #608,649 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shota Hanai on August 7, 2006
Format: Audio CD
... but unless you're accustomed to recordings of Beethoven's epic Ninth Symphony done by major world-class orchestras (Berlin and Vienna Philharmonic just to name a few), and absolutely can't tolerate the work done by a thirty to forty piece ensemble, do give this performance some time.

Surely, detractors find it weak and lacking the power and drama large orchestras have, but the important thing is, you're hearing a recording which, in a sense, is more accurate during Beethoven's time. Strangely, much of the existing recordings are done adding more players over the years.

The chamber orchestra Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia, under the baton of Bela Drahos, performed and recorded all nine symphonies, as well as couple other works by Beethoven. The ensemble is extremely well played; it's comprised of some of the best players from larger orchestras from Hungary. So are the chorus and the vocal soloists. The baritone and tenor in particular has a voice fit for a small ensemble. The relatively fast tempo is preferable to my taste, and both the first and second segments of the A section from the Scherzo is repeated.

Yes, it's not a typical overly powerful performance, but it's still worth a listen so you can get a different, even historically more accurate, insight on this work.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robin Friedman HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 9, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Beethoven completed his final symphony, the Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Opus 125 in 1824, twelve years following the completion of his earlier eight symphonies. The symphony is always known as the "Choral" in that Beethoven introduced into the symphony for the first time vocal music, in the form of a chorus, soloists, and quartet, settting Schiller's poem, "Ode to Joy." Beethoven had long had the ambition of setting Schiller's poem to music.
It is sometimes forgotten that Beethoven wrote a great deal for the human voice. His works include many songs, the opera "Fidelio" two masses, an oratorio, cantatas, and much else. In particular, Beethoven's "choral fantasy" for piano, orchestra and chorus, opus 80 is an earlier attempt in the pattern of the Ninth Symphony.
The Ninth Symphony is in four movements with the first three purely instrumental. The final movement of the symphony generally receives the most attention, and new listeners probably should be reminded to hear the entire work, and to listen to the singing in light of the three movements that have proceeded it. The first movement is a questioning, troubled allegro which is heroic and grand in character. It is followed by a lively scherzo featuring brusque interplay between the bassoon and the tympani and a meditative second theme. The third movement is a tranquil and reflective adagio, and the fourth movement consists of an complex orchestral introduction which serves to bridge the three instrumental movements with the choral finale, followed by the setting of Schiller's Ode.
Over the years, musical scholars have divided over whether the choral finale is an effective conclusion to a work of pure instrumental music.
Read more ›
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By apt2full on September 23, 2013
Format: Audio CD
Toscanini, Furtwangler, Reiner, Szell, Klemperer, Karajan, Kleiber, Schmidt-Isserstedt, Schuricht, Leibowitz, Jochum, Cluytens, Fricsay, Bohm, Krips, Norrington, Gardiner, Zinman.

Let's not fool ourselves, shall we? This performance is brisk, compact, amiable, but in no way immortal, important or competitive with those that have gone before.

However, there is absolutely no hiss.
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