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Symphony 9

Arturo Toscanini Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 7.96 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (18 Jan 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: RCA
  • ASIN: B000003EWO
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 345,830 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 - "Choral": I. Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso13:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 - "Choral": II. Molto vivace13:090.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 - "Choral": III. Adagio molto e cantabile; andante moderato14:210.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125 - "Choral": IV. Presto; allegro assai23:220.99  Buy MP3 

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
I now have this famous recording in the recently released "The Complete RCA Collection" (Toscanini Collection - an impossible bargain), but have owned this particular RCA disc for many years; it is a justly famous recording and essential listening.

The 1955 review in "The Record Guide" compared this Toscanini recording with several others then available on the UK market:-

"Nowhere, perhaps, is Toscanini's genius more apparent than in this work. At the age of eighty-five he had lost none of the concentration and energy which he always brought to it: he sweeps irresistibly forward, as though in a single fierce creative impulse. At the climax of the first movement, where the main theme returns in the major key, the listener has a strange sensation of being at the heart of a whirlwind: he feels impelled to leave his chair and pace the room. The Scherzo is amazingly vigorous and distinct. In the Adagio, the ethereal beauty of the conception compensates for some want of tonal bloom and warmth. In the Finale the choir is first class; the soloists sound a little remote, and are far from ideally eloquent. Nevertheless, the power of this exalted, exultant movement emerges with all the splendour that has made Toscanini the foremost conductor of our age. The NBC orchestral tone, throughout, is clean and vivid.

In the circumstances, Kleiber's excellent account of this work tends inevitably to be eclipsed (Symphony 9 " Choral "). Yet, in fairness, we must point out that his performance is weighty in conception, finely built, and scrupulous in detail.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  20 reviews
61 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant Beethoven's ninth 18 Jan 2006
By Robert E. Nylund - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Arturo Toscanini (1867-1957) spent much of his conducting career trying to give a "definitive" performance of Beethoven's ninth symphony. He conducted the symphony numerous times; it wasn't until 1952 that he was sufficiently satisfied with a recording of this major work to authorize a commercial release.

Toscanini had hated to record during the days of 78-rpm discs. Each 12-inch record side played a little under five minutes, so it was necessary for the conductor and musicians to stop periodically while the master was changed. Only in the United Kingdom, where Toscanini made recordings with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, did a record producer (Fred Gaisberg) come up with a system using two recording machines, so that Toscanini and the musicians did not have to stop.

Toscanini was very happy when RCA Victor began using magnetic sound film to record his sessions with the NBC Symphony. Then, in 1948, RCA switched to magnetic tape. With both processes, continuous performance were possible and true high fidelity was realized. Toscanini told his friends that he was often very happy with the long-playing records that RCA began issuing in 1950. By 1952, RCA was using a single full range microphone, suspended above Toscanini's head, to achieve its "New Orthophonic" process. Occasionally, an additional microphone was used to pick up soloists. The results in this recording were exceptional and very realistic.

Toscanini always felt there were problems with performances with Beethoven's ninth symphony. Something always seem to go wrong, either with the soloists, the chorus, the orchestra, or the conductor himself. It's likely other conductors and musicians recognized the challenges of this very difficult music. Just as Beethoven had done with his "Missa Solemnis," the composer challenged the musicians with his very profound and very intricate music. Both works stretch the singers to their vocal limits; having sung "Missa Solemnis" and the ninth symphony, this writer can attest to the considerable challenges of the music.

The commercial recording that Toscanini made with the NBC Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall in 1952 was the culmination of years of trying to understand Beethoven's intensely complicated musical score. That Toscanini succeeded in producing a legendary recording is a real tribute to his greatness. It's particularly amazing that he made this recording the year he turned 85 years of age.

Joining Toscanini and the NBC Symphony in this recording were a group of outstanding vocal soloists, particularly American tenor Jan Peerce, whom Toscanini considered among his all-time favorite singers. Peerce first sang with Toscanini in a 1939 broadcast performance of this symphony. The Robert Shaw Chorale, which had first performed with Toscanini in a 1945 broadcast performance of the ninth, were on hand, again providing some of the best choral singing possible. Shaw would go on to become a symphony conductor himself (with the Atlanta Symphony) and some said that he was much influenced by his mentor.

It is well known that the four movements attempt to present various musical philosophies of life. Beethoven basically rejects the first three proposals, even reviewing them in the opening moments of the fourth symphony, and then has the bass soloist sing, "O friends, not these sounds." Beethoven uses Schiller's "Ode to Joy" and the recurring main theme has become one of his most famous melodies, later used as the tune for the hymn "Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee." The composer clearly had already recognized that one must accept fate and not be discouraged; it was such determination that enabled to live and continue composing despite increasing deafness.

This performance set the standard for all recordings of the Beethoven ninth symphony. Few conductors, singers, and musicians have succeeded as well as Toscanini did in this memorable performance.
47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate recording with the unique Toscanini stamp 8 April 2001
By "hcollin" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Doubtless, the ninth remains one of the best musical pieces of all time and, alas, one of the least performed in public. Indeed, such live performances were, and still are, so infrequent that George Bernard Shaw deemed them "extraordinary events separated by years". It may be that it is difficult and technically demanding (but then all Beethoven music is), but it is most likely because it's so passionate and emotionally demanding. You must have abundant personal and professional attributes to conduct a magnun opus the size of Choral Symphony and Arturo Toscanini has them both at his best in this 1952 recording. Although he was 85 years old at that time, he vigorously projects beauty, warmth and youth aplenty. It is a magnificent recording, one you cannot listen to and feel the same afterwards.
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gold Standard 26 Aug 2004
By Russell K. MacDonald - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony brings us Toscanini at the pinnacle of his career and the most mature stage of his life. It is also the only recording he ever made of this piece, even though he conducted it numerous times and was well known for it. While the recording limitations of 1952 are noticeable, the mood and impact of the piece are not affected at all.

The complex instrumental passages are clear and crisp, interpretted by a true master, leading us ever onward to the climax of the 4th movement where the piece explodes with the typical energy of the Robert Shaw Chorale. The lyrics are clear and filled with breathtaking dynamic variations, accurately depicting the boundless joy for which the piece was named.

This recording of Beethoven's 9th is a 'Gold Standard' to which all other conductors strive. No collection of great works would be complete without it.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A passionate, disciplined, and moving performance 15 Mar 2010
By A music lover - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
For listeners old enough to remember the old LP record and CD transfers of this performance, the performance you hear in this latest transfer will seem a tremendous improvement. In my youth I recall many champions of Toscanini and expecially of his performances of Beethoven. These strong preferences never seemed entirely convincing to me (though I have always been a great admirer of Toscanini's astonishing performance of the Schubert 9th Symphony with the Philadelphia Orchestra). I preferred other performances of Beethoven, such as those recorded by later RCA engineers and by Deutsche Grammophon or Decca. To my ears the NBC orchestra always sounded harsh and cold and its sound a bit "dead." Someone has evidently devoted some care and good taste in bringing out a clear, almost warm sound from the old RCA tapes. The passion and precision of Toscanini's conducting now shines through in a wonderful way. The slow movement seems to me particularly impressive.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great rendition of a masterpiece 29 Dec 2013
By Zubair Aslam - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Toscanini is a revered conductor, and for good reason. His performance of the 9th is among the most listened to. The accents and chorales are very well done.
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