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Discussion: Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - Furtwängler

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Post by ramesh March 20, 2005 (31 of 40)
Rob said:

I'm a casual classical music listener & would like to know if there is a consensis best perfomances of the ninth and of those which has the best sonics to date on SACD? I know that it is subjective but any tips would be helpful as I don't want to buy 5 sacds to find one that I like or should I wait for a while as there are no signifigant sacd disc to date?
Thanks Rob

There is no more consensus on the best version of the Choral than there is agreement on the current Leader of the Free World. I have Karajan 1962 and Karajan 1976 on SACD; swift and fiery performances in the Toscanini mould; you can access quite balanced reviews of their artistic merits on the Gramophone website at Gramophone.co.uk ; in both versions Karajan's legato style of conducting is tempered to the music's advantage. The quality of the orchestral playing is for once, literally peerless. Richard Osborne in the Gramophone observed the median age of the Berlin Phil in '62 was 26, due to post-Furtwangler retirements; yet they play like to the manner born.The finale shows K's mastery of opera conducting. The chorus is a little bit back in '62, but it also has Janowitz's sensational ascent in the climax of the vocal quartet writing.
I have stereo only SACD,and I found the string sound in DG's 1962 version fuller and more resplendent in the first movement than the multimiked offering in '76; has anyone else found this? There has been discussion in the forum re the Japanese Universal 24/96 analogue transfers. Presumably these Karajan 24/96 PCM SACD retransfers are indicative of the quality to be either expected or derided, if or when Punyversal ever decide to reissue on SACD their Analogue Aladdin's cave. I have the DG originals RBCD of K'62, the SACD stereo layer is far superior, though it still has some PCMish glare. This isn't a feature of the Berlin Phil live!

Post by seth March 20, 2005 (32 of 40)
Rob said:

I'm a casual classical music listener & would like to know if there is a consensis best perfomances of the ninth and of those which has the best sonics to date on SACD? I know that it is subjective but any tips would be helpful as I don't want to buy 5 sacds to find one that I like or should I wait for a while as there are no signifigant sacd disc to date?
Thanks Rob

While it's not cheap, buying 5 different recordings of the 9th is going to be a much more rewarding experience than buying just 1, based only on recommendations. You can always sell/ebay the ones you don't like. This is what classical collecting is all about, finding the style and interpretation **you** like.

Post by beardawgs March 21, 2005 (33 of 40)
Rob said:

I'm a casual classical music listener & would like to know if there is a consensis best perfomances of the ninth and of those which has the best sonics to date on SACD? I know that it is subjective but any tips would be helpful as I don't want to buy 5 sacds to find one that I like or should I wait for a while as there are no signifigant sacd disc to date?
Thanks Rob

Rob,

If you have DVD-A playing capabilities, I would recommend you IMO the safest choice – recent Abbado’s recording with Berlin Phil. Surround recording (in 96/24) is fantastic, and the performance is a very enjoyable one too. A while ago I send an email to DG asking will that ever be put on SACD and there are no plans for that.

Post by Ken_P March 23, 2005 (34 of 40)
I read somewhere that the next volume in the Vanska/Minnesota Beethoven cycle on BIS is going to be the 9th. I don't have any way to confirm this, but if it's true, then that should be an excellent option when it comes out, presumably early next year. Their recording of the 4th and 5th is really excellent, in both performance and sound.

Post by jdaniel January 22, 2011 (35 of 40)
Just finished listening to this wonderful performance and would recommend it. I've never liked the more famous '51 on EMI as the 3rd mov't--the symphony's heart-- is just painful with regard to execution. IMHO Furtwangler's last, on Tahra SACD comes across as less imaginative, mainstream even, though best-recorded and played.

The playing of the '42 Berliner's is nothing to sneeze at. Excellent execution throughout; crisp playing and members follow Furtwangler's every whim regarding light and shade, sudden tempo changes, etc. I'm not a fan of *all* Furtwangler's work; but sometimes his imaginative touches, (not near as exaggerated--or routinely exaggerated-- as some would claim), pay off handsomely in this recording, his EMI Tristan, Bruckner 9th and Brahms' 1st and 4th.

Some of the thread's comments about one's motives and/or enthusiasm towards this performance come across as pretty ignorant. It's too easy to dismiss the whole affair as ghoulishness or fetish for the "old." There are plenty of unique artistic touches and the overall rarified musicianship of the players is such that IMHO these factors alone would have set this performance apart whatever the vintage or circumstances.

Just a few things which set this performance apart for me: the string descent/diminuendo back to the opening theme early in the first mov't is just perfectly-judged, the extreme contrast between lone wind soloists vs full orchestra in first mov't, the jubilance of the trombones in the central section of the Scherzo, the lithe and sometimes swaggering (!) choir in the Finale and seraphic nature of the vocal quartet--free of "operatic" wobble-- before the final raucous coda.

So, a fascinating release, taken from an early Melodiya Lp's (which have gone for $4K at auction). The very idea might come across as counter-intuitive for some unless one has heard a mono record played with a mono cart on top-notch equipment; the results can be quite good. A warning though, this mono recording comes nowhere near the results engineers achieved in the early '50's, so be prepared for stretches of overload and opaque sound in climaxes; I was quite moved non the less.

Post by tream January 23, 2011 (36 of 40)
jdaniel said:

Just finished listening to this wonderful performance and would recommend it. I've never liked the more famous '51 on EMI as the 3rd mov't--the symphony's heart-- is just painful with regard to execution. IMHO Furtwangler's last, on Tahra SACD comes across as less imaginative, mainstream even, though best-recorded and played.

Interesting comments. I currently own the performance on Tahra (RBCD only) as well as the performance (1938, I think) contained in the Furtwangler edition of Great Conductors of the 20th Century, and I once owned the Bayreuth performance on LP. I have always felt that, based on the recordings I have heard, that his interpretations of the 9th were pretty much of a piece - he had decided how it would go, applied his finishing touches, and bam, there you have his 9th, from the very long luftpausen to the absolutely frenetic and out of control finale. I am obviously not a fan of Furtwangler's Beethoven, atlhough I can see more of an argument for his way in this symphony, than I can in the Eroica or the Fifth. No argument from me on his Wagner. I haven't heard his Bruckner, not being an absolute Brucknerite.

Anyway, interesting comments. My own view would be, if one admires Furtwangler in Beethoven, to get the performance with the best sound.

Tom

Post by Kveld-Úlfr February 6, 2014 (37 of 40)
Hi all,

Does anybody know where to get a copy of this one besides the japanease Amazon (which I cannot access) ? I came late to get interested in this one and I regret it.

Thanks in advance !

Post by sylvian February 7, 2014 (38 of 40)
Kveld-Úlfr said:

Hi all,

Does anybody know where to get a copy of this one besides the japanease Amazon (which I cannot access) ? I came late to get interested in this one and I regret it.

Thanks in advance !

I can only found this one (and its from the destination of yours)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beethoven-Symphonie-n9-Ludwig-Van-Beethoven-Wilhelm-Furtwangler-Philharmoni-/190923329291?pt=FR_GW_CDMUSIQUE_CD&hash=item2c73eacf0b

Post by Kveld-Úlfr February 7, 2014 (39 of 40)
sylvian said:

I can only found this one (and its from the destination of yours)

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Beethoven-Symphonie-n9-Ludwig-Van-Beethoven-Wilhelm-Furtwangler-Philharmoni-/190923329291?pt=FR_GW_CDMUSIQUE_CD&hash=item2c73eacf0b

Thanks Sylvian ! That tile, however, can be obtained from this site here : Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - Furtwängler and for 11€... took it right away.

Post by SNOVA April 19, 2015 (40 of 40)
I can't say this is an outstanding remastering. Compared to other CD transferrings like VENEZIA, tahra, Melodiya or Delta, the sound is thin, dim and a little dry, both higher and lower frequency has been over suppressed.

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