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Beethoven - Symphony 9 (Choral Symphony) [Import]

Beethoven , Berlin Phil , Furtwangler Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Nov 1993)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B000001OEX
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 579,446 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestosoTilla Briem17:17Album Only
Listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": II. Molto vivaceTilla Briem11:21Album Only
Listen  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderatoTilla Briem20:06Album Only
Listen  4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, "Choral": IV. Finale: Presto - Allegro assaiTilla Briem24:29Album Only

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A 'Ninth' recording unlike any other 27 Nov 2003
Format:Audio CD
Wilhelm Furtwaengler and the Berlin Philharmonic 1942 recording of Beethoven's 'Ninth' is not a recording to be listened to often.
It is to be put on when one is in a state to endure what, without exaggeration, has been described as its "cyclonic fury."
Done live in a bombed-out Berlin, Furtwaengler threw every ounce of rage (against the Nazi destruction of Germany) and pity (for his homeland and its people) into a performance without equal in recorded history. The tender moments are wondrously so, the fortizzimos overload the early tape recording with passion.
This was Furtwaengler's coda to a city, and to his orchestra: many of the BPO players were Jewish and still alive only because of his insistence with the Nazis that he need them. A year later, many were gone.
The 'time-capsule'-like quality, with audience noises, only make the experience more unbearable, like listening to a recording of the Titanic's orchestra as the ship was sinking.
So, something to experience, and never forget. It should not be your first 'ninth' recording; you should know the music in a more balanced setting first, but it should be part of any serious CD collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Furtwangler Beethoven 9 in good sound 25 July 2011
Format:Audio CD
Having discovered in the last year that the famous 1951 EMI recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony was in fact not 'live' at all but patched up from several rehearsals, I began to search for a better account by Furtwangler. After much research and comparison, I came upon this Music & Arts release of the March 1942 performance with the Berlin Philharmonic. A lot has been said about the ferocious intensity of the playing in this recording and I can tell you that it is all true. The first movement in particular resembles one huge angry storm. Just listen to the central portion of the movement with the timpani thundering over the orchestra - if this isn't a depiction of rage and despair then I don't know what is.

The Scherzo also conveys a strain of menace but isn't quite as dark as the previous movement as Furtwangler still finds room to breathe in the central trio. What impressed me most about this performance was the astonishing articulation of the Berlin Philharmonic which you can really hear in the first two movements - all those huge chords are played with an exactness and weight that knocks you over. Now we come to the Adagio, and what an adagio this is! I release many people will prefer a more flowing tempo in this movement - especially if you're used to recordings by Toscanini, Karajan, Harnoncourt etc. but Furtwangler's more flexible, long-breathed approach has a spiritual depth and tension that is extremely impressive in its own right. Just occasionally I feel that he is stretching the melodic line a bit too far, but then the intensity of the phrasing just carries me away and I forget about any idiosyncratic moments.

The singing and playing in the Finale is also remarkable - much more accurate than in the 1951 EMI recording and with a greater intensity of purpose.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  18 reviews
34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A taste of the sublime! 27 Nov 1999
By Eddy Oquendo - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It's exceptionally rare that one comes across a truly mind-boggling rendition of an extremely popular classical piece; so many recordings have been made that virtually every creative avenue has been explored. Yet, that's exactly what you get with this CD, a performance for the ages, an interpretive tour de force.
Wilhelm Furtwangler was known as a great conductor of Beethoven's symphonic repertoire, indeed, he was a musician with a powerful gift for the compositions of the German masters. The maestro recorded the ninth symphony many times, in the process, he gave us two of the greatest interpretations of that astounding work, this being the more inspired of the duo.
Upon listening to this CD for the first time, you'll immediately notice that the sound quality is horrendous; hiss, bad microphone placement, and sounds from the audience that rival that of the orchestra. But stick with it! In time, the sonic inferiorities of the recording melt away to unveil a performance of ethereal inspiration. You will not believe the supercharged finale! Every time that I listen to this performance, I'm left in awe; it's THAT unique!
I own nine recordings of this most well-known opus, among them are some really exceptional efforts, but this Music & Arts CD is the most cherished. Fritz Reiner's version of the symphony is, rightfully, a classic, Solti's 1972 performance is electric, Muti's rendition is excellent, but Furtwangler's 1942 effort stands at the summit, outdoing even his 1951 offering.
A neophyte should probably begin with Reiner's beautiful account, and perhaps listen to Solti's version next. I would NOT recommend this CD to a beginning collector; the sound is too primitive and the performance is too atypical. But those familiar with Beethoven's final symphony will consider it the proverbial cream of the crop. I pull this puppy out like I would a bottle of my finest Brandy, only when I want a taste of the sublime.
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Short of Miraculous! 26 Dec 2003
By D. J. Zabriskie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There is really very little I can add to the other reviews of this remarkable performance. This is, flat out, the most
AMAZING 9th you will ever hear! Who ever would have thought that
ANGER and OUTRAGE were appropriate emotions for approaching the
9th? Furtwangler not only pulls it off, but does so in a way that is so utterly convincing, that all other recordings of the
9th pale in comparison... in spite of the limitations of the
1942 technology! This is Furtwangler's artistic protest of Hitler and Naziism, and it is full of strength, muscle and
tenderness. His famous liberal use of rubato actually succeeds
in making the music "breathe" more fully. In spite of the atrocities going on around him, Furtwangler gives us a 9th which
is full of humanity -- albeit, a dark response to our darker
impulses. Yet, if the "Ode to Joy" here is full of anger, it is
equally full of sunlight, but it is sunlight focussed like a laser down a mineshaft.
There is no other word for this performance than ASTOUNDING. It
will reduce you to repeated, inarticulate utterances like "Oh wow!" and leave you limp... but also exhilirated, too.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singular 2 Sep 1999
By lbangs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
After listening to this recording, I sat in silence and shambles. The after-shocks of this music devastates me, leaving me much like the remains of a shack after a tornado rips through. This CD simply stands alone. I know nothing else with which to compare it. If you are even considering buying a ninth, or even your first classical CD, please try this. You will have to listen to it ten times to gain any sort of grip on it, and it will be 10 or so of the most rewarding hours of your life. Ruthless and furious. A true masterpiece.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 1942 recording Versus Furtwangler 1951 or Karajan 1961 10 Dec 2006
By R. Kirsch - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
After listening to this recording and Furtwangler's 1951 rendition as well as Karajan's 1961 version, I have to say that this recording exceeds both of those in emotional impact. This is the only recording that has actually created tears in my eyes (not an easy thing to do). The voices in this version brim with an outraged defiance that truly simmers beneath the surface, vying with the supposed joy of the finale and reflecting accurately the turbulent context of a Nazi Germany 1942 gripped in the throes of war and oppression.

The opening is truly "fire and brimstone" as another commentator has noted, and the tempi throughout seems completely natural and appropriate. I am a HUGE stickler for sound quality, but despite the mitigated recording quality this piece won me over with its raw emotional magnificance. It's almost as if you can sense the desperation in every voice and in the hands behind every plucked string, these musicians performing before a Nazi elite in a totalitarian society where any mistake or blemish in the performance could have brought shame upon the performers' families and themselves. No other recording has such a unique context nor such desperate zeal.

Last but not least, please, please buy this before you buy Karajan's 1961 rendition. So many people rave about Karjan's '61, and it was the first Ninth that I purchased -- However Karajan's version has two MAJOR, and I think unforgivable flaws. First of all, the tempo for the second movement is way too fast in Karajan's version -- it sounds like he's rushing through it (which he does in maybe 10:59). Secondly and even worse, the fourth movement is completely ruined. Karajan drowns out the beautiful choral performance with an overpowering orchestra, making a muddled soup out of what should have been distinct sounds.

Of the five Ninth's I have heard, this one is by far the best. Even if you're picky about sound quality like I am, BUY THIS AMAZING NINTH SYMPHONY!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words Fail 2 Mar 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
As the other reviews say, this performance of Beethoven's 9th is unlike any other that you will ever hear. Make no mistake, it is a great performance, but somehow that is one of the least important aspects of this recording. Above all, this recording is a time machine that takes you to a very distinct place and time: Berlin, March 1942. You need only listen to a few minutes of this recording before you can feel the tension and horror of a wartime Berlin that knows Nazi armies have been pushed onto the defensive on the Eastern front, and that knows of the deportations of German Jews to "the East" and of the mass executions of Russian Jews by SS killing squads in Russia. This is gut-wrenching music, brim-full of what I hear as outrage, horror, and sadness. I find the boxy sound actually *adds* to the power of the performance: this is music from the abyss, a sometimes faint echo of a nightmare, all the more terrifying for the moments when the recording crumbles before the almost hysterical fury of the music. If Beethoven had known of Auschwitz, this is how he would have wanted the Ninth to have been played.
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