- Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125 - Ludwig van Beethoven - René Kollo - Leonard Bernstein - Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra - Gwyneth Jones - Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor - Kurt Moll - Hanna Schwarz
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is remarkable in so many ways, not the least of which is the work's sheer size; it's more than twice the length of the standard symphony of its time. But even more striking is the way that Beethoven transformed the symphony into a dramatic form. This music is theatrically gripping from the very first notes; in fact, no symphony had ever started with such an atmosphere of mystery before. And, of course, there's the famous finale, where Beethoven brings in vocal soloists and a chorus to intone the radiant "Ode to Joy." Leonard Bernstein was a conductor who knew how to wring every drop of drama from a piece of music, and in this intense performance, recorded live in Vienna, he doesn't miss a beat. The result is a compellingly theatrical and spiritually uplifting performance of one of the most sublime works of all time.