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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 "Choral"

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Beethoven,L.V. ~ Symphony No 9 (Choral)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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10:21
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15:12
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Product Details

  • Performer: Lucine Amara, John Macurdy, Lili Chookasian, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, John Alexander
  • Conductor: Eugene Ormandy, Richard Condie
  • Composer: Beethoven
  • Audio CD (June 30, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • ASIN: B0000025MG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,231 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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In my book this was the definitive performance of Beethoven's 9th even if Ormandy skipped the repeats in the second movement, as he is wont to do. The performance lives up to everything said by previous reviewers and more. If you believe that there are two classes of conductor, Eugene Ormandy then all the others, this is a must-have CD despite it's major flaws. I bought this recording on vinyl in the 1970s and finally got the CD. What a disappointment. The original analog recording sounds great in the softer areas but the tape is saturated in some of the loud parts. There are many places where you can clearly hear the harmonic distortion, especially when the timpani are playing loudly. There are also occasional dropouts, with a major one in the left channel about 1:25 into the first movement (it sounds like a wrinkle in the tape but seeing that it is in only one channel it's probably a flaw in the oxide). In the third movement there is so much crackling and popping that I could swear they digitized a vinyl recording for the CD. Seriously, I think the master tape must have been lost or damaged and this CD was made from a bad copy. Also, I know there is an Ormandy recording where he takes the repeats in the second movement. I borrowed it from the public library as part of the complete symphonies many years ago. Columbia apparently edited the repeats out to fit the symphony on a single vinyl disk for the single-disk release. Why didn't they use the unedited version here? There's room on the CD. This recording is a must-hear because it is an unbeatable performance of the 9th, and I'm glad to have it. However, don't clamp on your best headphones and expect to hear an excellently-engineered recording. The quality of the recording is, unfortunately, second-rate.Read more ›
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beethoven's no 9 is one of my favorite beethoven's symphony's eugene ormandy is fine conductor it has lucine amara
soprano lili chookasian contralto john alexander tenor john macurdy bass and the morman tabernacle choir (richard p. condie dir) and eugene ormandy and the philadelphia orchestra the cd is worth listening to it's worth the money and another symphony no 9 cd that is worth money is ode to freedom berstein in berlin beethoven-symphony no 9 is an awsome cd worth checking out
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I am glad to finally have this recording on CD!

As a teenager I purchased this recording of Beethoven's 9th in record form about 25 years ago. It was, and still is, part of Columbia's budget Classical line. Beethoven's 9th is one of the most majestic pieces of music. The opening movement rolls out powerfully with some anguish; the second is a rousing march; the third is a lovely and soaring pastoral image; the forth is a twenty-five minute long symphony within a symphony: reprising the opening then moving into the coral finale "Ode to Joy".

No wonder that this piece captured the imagination of Bruckner and Mahler whose twenty symphonies combined all attempt to use Beethoven's Ninth as a prototype. And as much as Brahms and Wagner may not have liked one another's music, they too, also tried to capture Beethoven's sweeping energy, as well.

As for this particular performance, I find it to be quite balanced, expansive when needed (as in the beautiful "Adagio"), and interesting throughout. Ormandy, the Philadelphia Orchestra,the outstanding vocal soloists and the world-renowned Mormon Tabernacle Choir make this a great buy. While Eugene Ormandy was not known as a very good conductor of Beethoven; this recording reveals quite the contrary. Ormnandy's approach is melodic and polished; a grand piece of music that presented with the utmost care and respect.

Comparisons: Bernstein/NYPO; Walter/Columbia SO; Munch/BSO; Karajan; Furtwangler/Bayreuth Orch.; Furtwangler/Berlin Phil. Orch.
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Format: Audio CD
I fell under the spell of this music and this recording in 1987-88. It was one of my first classical music purchases. I had never heard the entire work before, only the famous Ode to Joy theme in the Finale, however, after hearing this recording I naturally fell in love with, and became somewhat obsessed with, this piece of music. Ever since this purchase, I've bought and heard numerous recordings by just about every famous (and not so famous) conductor and orchestra, however, none has matched the consistent intensity that Ormandy and the great Philadelphia Orchestra bring to every bar of this music. Toscanini and the NBC Orchestra are a very close second, however, the very dry audio quality and limited, mono dynamic range of that old recording prohibit it from unseating the Ormandy/Philadelphia recording as my "go to" Ninth. This recording always puts me on the edge of my seat, from start to finish. The white hot electricity this criminally underrated partnership produces never relents for a moment in the fast movements. The phrasing is always crystal clear, which is not easy to achieve in this piece, but clear phrasing is a hallmark of the great Ormandy's music-making. The slow movement might be a bit Romantic or heavy-handed for the politically correct "period" or "authenticity" crowd, but I have no problem with that approach because this is arguably the first Romantic symphony (Sir Simon Rattle has described it as a "Romantic" symphony). I have been thrilled by Furtwangler's idiosyncratic recordings of the Ninth, pleasantly surprised by Karajan's occasional displays of almost animal aggression and orchestral control, and Bernstein's expansive recordings of the piece can put me under a spell, however, I always return to Ormandy's recording when I just want to hear Beethoven's Ninth. Twenty-eight years later, and I'm still under the spell of this recording and the magical partnership of Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
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