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There are arguably greater recordings in existence of Wilhelm Furtw�ngler conducting Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony": the searing 1937 in London, the celebratory 1951 in Bayreuth, the serene 1954 in Lucerne. But all Furtw�ngler's other recordings of the "Ninth" were essentially inspired re-creations of the same ecstatic conception: the "Ninth" as the supreme musical embodiment of humanity's highest and loftiest spirituality. But while certainly inspired, Furtw�ngler's "Ninth" from April 19, 1942, in Berlin, is anything but ecstatic, much less high or lofty, and surely not humane or spiritual. The result of the conductor's having been forced by Goebbels into performing the work for Hitler and the Nazi high command on the eve of the Fuhrer's birthday, Furtw�ngler's 1942 "Ninth" is the nemesis of all that is good and true and holy. It is a performance that denies Beethoven's joyful brotherhood under a loving God and instead hymns the Nazis with diabolical fugues and demonic choruses climaxing in a coda that hurls the whole edifice into the infernal abyss. It is one of the most deeply frightening performances of anything ever recorded. There have been dozens of releases of this recording on compact disc and their quality has varied from almost unlistenable Italian pirates to nearly transparent Japanese remasterings. This release is almost unlistenable in the climaxes but otherwise a reasonable representation of the original recording. What distinguishes this release from all others is that it is much longer: it includes the applause before and after the performances, the pauses between movements, and the German radio host back-announcing the performance. Thus, this is the first complete recording of the Nazi response to Furtw�ngler's performance. They greeted him with enthusiastic applause, remained raptly silent between movements, and again after the end before bursting into rapturous applause. It is one of the most profoundly horrifying sounds ever recorded.