Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 [Hybrid SACD]

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 [Hybrid SACD]

by Osmo Vänskä
     
 

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Anyone familiar with BIS' variable sound quality should feel a little cautious about acquiring this SACD of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9 in D minor" because the recording is not quite state of the art and quite frustrating to deal with. Granted, there's no lack of details in this meticulous performance by Osmo Vänskä<See more details below

Overview

Anyone familiar with BIS' variable sound quality should feel a little cautious about acquiring this SACD of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9 in D minor" because the recording is not quite state of the art and quite frustrating to deal with. Granted, there's no lack of details in this meticulous performance by Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchesta and Chorale, nor any concern that the musicians have seriously misinterpreted the score, so for a satisfactory reading that has all the notes, this one will do nicely. But SACDs aren't supposed to sound this stuffy, sterile, and airless, and the orchestra shouldn't sound so clinically miked. A multichannel recording like this should sound fabulously resonant and vibrantly alive, not mixed down to some middling audio level that can be played safely on ordinary stereo equipment. Alas, this is about as dull as any DSD recording of the "Ninth" can sound, and the levels are so low that it's easy to miscalculate volume settings. The worst aspect of this mixing down is the homogenization of the orchestra's sections and the draining of natural resonance that makes everything seem flat, as if played behind an aural scrim. Even the Finale, with its dramatic vocal and choral parts, sounds like a two-dimensional rendering of Beethoven's score, instead of an "Ode to Joy" with physical depth and dynamic range. So there are no compelling reasons to invest your dollars in this SACD, especially since a superior performance by Bernard Haitink and the London Symphony Orchestra on LSO Live is also available on SACD.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Rob Cowan
What really struck me is the muscularity of the playing, its clipped, propulsive phrasing, quite unlike any other modern-instrument recording of the Ninth.
The New Yorker - Alex Ross
[The performance] offers textures of supernatural clarity, as if all the grime had been cleaned from the surface of the score.... This is the most vivid Beethoven playing on the market.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/24/2006
Label:
Bis
UPC:
7318599916163
catalogNumber:
1616
Rank:
89854

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125  - Ludwig van Beethoven  - Robert von Bahr  - Neal Davies  - Jorja Fleezanis  - Arlette Lemieux-Chené  -  Minnesota Orchestra  -  Minnesota Chorale  - Daniel Norman  - Horst A. Scholz  - Robert Suff  - Osmo Vänskä  - Katarina Karnéus  - Helena Juntunen

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