- Symphony No. 9 in D minor ("Choral"), Op. 125
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9by Christoph von Dohnányi
On a spectrum between the reverent performances of the traditionalists and the startling revisions of the historicists, this recording of Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9" seems to stand in an agreeable middle area. Christoph von Dohnányi's rendition with the Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus is coherently shaped and clearly focused on details, faithful to the score, and classically transparent in its sound. Yet Dohnányi brings out the work's intense feeling without wearing his heart on his sleeve and lets expression flow naturally from what Beethoven wrote without a trace of transcendental exaggeration. The opening movement is crisp and efficiently paced, and the dramatic argument is forceful without striving for gravitas. The Scherzo, likewise, is effective on its own mercurial terms, without added violence or storminess. Dohnányi moves the Adagio molto e cantabile along without slipping into an Andante, and Beethoven's counterpoint is evenly sustained at this unhurried tempo. The choral Finale might strike some listeners as insufficiently grandiose, but it follows the rigorous approach established in the first three movements and is splendid without any extraneous effort. Dohnányi holds a firm grip on the movement's shape and momentum and prevents it from swerving into the two extremes of over-excitement and bombast.
- Release Date:
Performance CreditsChristoph von Dohnányi Primary Artist
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I bought two copies of this in CD form, the first in 1990 when it got released, and the second in 2004, when I had regrettably sold my first copy. Believe it or not, it is by far the most involving and touching performance in recording that I have listened to. Many ppl say Telarc's recording in this series of Beethovens was not their best coz it was blurred in image, and it sounded heavy. I think not. This is the best of single point recordings from Telarc in their first decade. It has rich harmonics that are real to the senses, its frequency response was superb, catching the bass drum notes just as proportionally as it sounded, and placing each singers against the choir and the orchestra at just the right porportion in terms of loudness and relative positions left to right. Listen to the Baritone coming in, mid 4th mvt, singing lyrics "Froh, Froh, Wie seinen Sonnen, seine Sonnen, fliegen, Froh wie seine ......"Just before his entrance, I hear bass drum and oboe+clarinette chruning out pitch notes ,. What? Bass drum? I rushed to read my copy of score. Yes bass drum,, Probably the only recording in which I hear this. And the effect was more than stunning. It makes the performance so much lively, so much more authoritative, so much involving. In fact, in terms of collectibility, this recording of the Beethoven Ninth is no less than any of Karajan's; in fact, just about any portion of this recording excels DGG's, for instance, by miles and miles and miles.... When you listne to this recording with good speakers, you will know, if you have never listened to any live performance of the Ninth, what you have missed in other recordings.
I had this recording for many, many years. I'm buying my second CD of this one. It's close to flawless. TELARC has been creating great digital classical music since the dawn of the CD era. This page is showing a release year of 1990, but I believe it was 1985. Perhaps this is referencing the second release.
I got the cassette of the Cleveland Symphony playing Beethoven's Ninth at Christmas one year and I played it constantly in my car. I could not wait until lunch so I could go sit in my car to listen. I felt like I was addicted to both the music and the playing alike.