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Beethoven: Symphony 9 "Choral" CD

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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 April 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B007G3H8TK
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 246,392 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Song TitleArtist Time Price
  1. Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral' Op. 125 (1989 Digital Remaster): I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestosoRudolf Kempe/Münchner Philharmoniker16:27Album Only
  2. Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral' Op. 125 (1989 Digital Remaster): II. Molto vivace - Presto - Molto vivace - PrestoRudolf Kempe/Münchner Philharmoniker11:21Album Only
  3. Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral' Op. 125 (1989 Digital Remaster): III. Adagio molto e cantabile - Andante moderatoRudolf Kempe/Münchner Philharmoniker16:10Album Only
  4. Symphony No. 9 in D minor 'Choral' Op. 125 (1989 Digital Remaster): IV. Presto - Allegro ma non troppo - Allegro assai - Allegro assai vivace - Alla marcia - Andante maestoso - Allegro energico, semprRudolf Kempe/Münchner Philharmoniker23:57Album Only

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By legbreak on 7 Feb. 2013
Format: Audio CD
I originally bought this on LP (yes, many years ago) and even before I came to really like the Ninth (at heart I have always been an 'Eroica person) but,even then, I realised what a stunning performance it was. I still have the LP but really wanted a CD version. I'm really glad that I bought this. When the LP was issued in the 1970s one reviewer thought it was the finest stereo Ninth. I'm not an expert on this symphony and I haven't heard all the available recordings (has anyone?)but I also have CDs of the Ninth by Karajan, Szell, Blomstedt, Haitink, Harnoncourt and Norrington. Haitink's LSO and Karajan's 1977 performances were the ones I preferred to listen to but this now joins them making up a trio of outstanding Ninths. So what makes the Kempe performance so special? Well,perhaps because Kempe was an oboist, he gets the very best out of the Munich woodwinds, so much so that, if you're one of those people who would like the Ninth more, but for the third movement (which can be a bore)then be prepared to love it, for the phrasing and balance make it glorious. Is there lack of excitement in Kempe's performance? Absolutely not. It is not quite as powerful as the Haitink or Karajan recordings but it is still very powerful and at all times the willingness to allow the orchestra to phrase (especially the woodwinds ) brings huge rewards. The last movement sounds really joyful (not, I must stress jaunty !) rather than, as sometimes happens, hectoring. I'm listening to it as I write and if I was capable of falling in love with a Ninth as I would a person i.e. with mingled tenderness, affection and excitement, I would fall in love with this. Should you buy it? No, as you always have a choice, but I think that although (as is inevitable) a few purchasers won't like it,most will and very much, and some will be as deeply grateful as I am that EMI Classics have re-issued this recording which is a wonderful monument to a much missed conductor.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
An excellent if not perfect rendition 13 Oct. 2012
By scholarboy - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I was very glad to see the reappearance of this performance on CD after its' not being available for so many years. I always enjoyed Kempe's take, and virtually destroyed a cassette by playing it so often. Ironically the first time I played the CD was on a car stereo, and there must be something about the more enclosed acoustic of an automobile that lends this reading greater impact. So I somewhat agree with Santa Fe that this lacks a little visceral excitement and urgency. But it's extremely well-played and somehow it works, to my ears, better than some performances that strive for too much. It helps moreover to turn the volume WAY up, as the recorded venue seems to add too much distance and perspective, and not quite enough heft. Where Kempe does go a bit off, I think, are in some some of the more nuanced tempo changes, especially in the Finale, but such flexibility was never his strong suit.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Kempe's Traditional Germanic Beethoven Readings Are Among The Best! 12 Feb. 2014
By Brian Copp - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I'm not a music scholar or musicologist, but I do own over 50 recordings of these Beethoven symphonies.

There are 3 types of interpretations for most classical works. Traditional, Historically Informed & Oddballs. This set falls under the Traditional Category.

Rudolf Kempe was one of the most talented and respected conductors of his time and it is a shame he isn't better known. His Beethoven is Traditional in the vein of Klemperer, Bohm, Bernstein, Kubelik, etc. These are not Historically Informed performances like Hogwood, Norrington or Gardiner. They are classic "Big Orchestra" sounding Beethoven. They are majestic and full of beauty and I feel Kempe's Beethoven cycle is certainly on par with his contemporaries.

On this CD we have a recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony.

Kempe takes after Bohm & Klemperer and goes for the "Power, Grandeur and Glory" locked inside this music.

This particular recording is full of clarity. Kempe gets amazing results from the Munich Philharmonic. The tempos work perfectly throughout and in general the entire recording has a "flow" that feels completely natural. The singing is wonderful and I can't recommend it enough. I believe Beethoven would have been proud of this one.

I don't believe there is such a thing as a "best recording" or a "best interpretation". There is only what appeals to you personally as the listener. Over the years I have gradually gone away from the Historically Informed Performances when it comes to Beethoven. I prefer conductors who translate how they feel when they both see and hear this music. Kempe was always a conductor who had this magical ability for me. Much like his friend and fellow conductor Karl Richter, Kempe had a special ability to make the music come alive and convey every emotion he went through while conducting. He was a true artist and these recordings should not be missed for those who seek traditional Beethoven recordings with as much personal charm, care and passion as Klemperer, Bohm and Bernstein put into their well respected recordings.
Best Performance I've Heard of Beethoven's 9th 24 Aug. 2013
By Kate - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
...and I've listened to alot of them, trying to find the one that appeals to me most. The tempo in all four movements is just right to my ears, the music and playing is full of passion, and the finale is gives me goosebumps. The choral singing is superb, as are the soloists. I think Beethoven would have LOVED this performance, and I imagine that it is the way he would have conducted it himself. A monumental symphony, and a monumental performance.

I've also listened to, and own Rudolph Kempe and the Munich Philharmonic's performances of Beethoven's other eight symphonies, and with only one exception, I think they are the best performances available. The exception is the 7th Symphony, which is played much too fast for my taste, but maybe that is how Beethoven intended it to be. I prefer Leonard Bernstein and the N.Y. Philharmonic's less-rushed pace. Other than that, Kempe and the Munich Philharmonic is tops, in my opinion.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
*** 1/2 A skillful Ninth undone by the spirit of moderation 18 Aug. 2012
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Note: The opening paragraphs of this review duplicate general remarks that open an earlier review of Kempe's Beethoven Fifth and Sixth.

Rudolf Kempe has the distinction, according to Wikipeida, od recording the complete Beethoven symphonies in quadraphonic sound, a brief stab at a new format that quickly vanished. He led the Munich Phil. for almost a decade, from 1967 until his death, at 65, in 1976. His tenure wasn't as memorable as that of Sergiu Celibidache, who succeeded him in 1979. This reissue from the quadraphonic Beethoven cycle, now in normal two-channel stereo, is remarkably open, clear, and fresh. It also represents the plus and minus of traditional Beethoven at this late date.

The plus is that the style has a ring of authenticity - this isn't faux traditionalism as exemplified in two rather dispiriting Beethoven cycles from Daniel Barenboim and Christian Thielemann. The playing is direct and confident, in the full knowledge that this is how Beethoven should be played ad perhaps always would. But tastes change, and now I'd argue that the only traditionalists who survive in high regard are the great conductors like Furtwangler and Klemperer. Not everyone agrees (or needs to), but to me there is a certain dead-letter quality to the Beethoven left by Jochum, Cluytens, Schmidt-Isserstedt, and Bohm. In hindsight, the outliers look better, which would include extremists like Scherchen and modernists like Leibowitz, Markevitch, and Rosbaud.

If those categories hold water, Kempe is not quite a dead letter here; he doesn't plod, and there are signs of life everywhere. But even a conductor as gifted as Tennstedt could lapse into dullness in Beethoven, and a firebrand like Solti could become a tame pussycat. As for this Ninth Sym. from 1974, it begins with a tendency toward respectfulness that seems neither here nor there. The pacing is moderate; dramatic contrasts are diminished; there isn't much tension or mystery. Can a monument of Western culture be fully expressed so moderately? As the movement progresses, Kempe reaches large climaxes that are compelling, but they take a while to arrive.

The Scherzo again brings "respectful" to mind, in a positive way, but Kempe adds some real vibrancy and forward motion. The Adagio is the touchstone of the Ninth and should call forth a conductor's deepest feelings and musical instincts. Kempe's touch is unusually lyrical - the opening theme really sings - and he develops a reflective mood that isn't static. Ideally this should build in intensity, but Kempe remains flowing and rather gentle throughout.

Listeners expect a payoff in the revolutionary finale, and here the conducting really is too middling for its own good. The chaotic rabble that opens the movement is just a tiff here. As in the first movement, the build-up eventually arrives but a bit too late. Kempe smooths out Beethoven's many tempo changes, in keeping with his moderate instincts. Bass Donald McIntyre had a major career but sounds woolly, imprecise, and tired here. The energetic, even lusty chorus is in good shape and well recorded, considerably better than on more famous Ninths like Karajan's from 1963. Nicolai Gedda was nearing the end f his prime but handles the treacherous tenor solo with real skill. On the whole, the finale is impressive for its coherence but disappointing if you are expecting inspiration.
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