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Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.5 & 6, 9 (2 CDs)

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos.5 & 6, 9 (2 CDs)

1 Jan 1977
4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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  • Sample this album
    Title by Artist
    0:00 / 0:00
1
7:16
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2
9:36
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3
4:39
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4
8:44
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5
9:07
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6
11:29
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7
5:43
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8
3:29
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9
8:43
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Disc 2
1
15:27
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2
10:15
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3
16:57
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4
6:29
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5
18:05
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan. 1977
  • Release Date: 14 April 2003
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca (UMO)
  • Copyright: (C) 2003 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Hamburg
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 2:15:59
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001M0BKRO
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 15,961 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Herbert von Karajan's Beethoven Ninth from the complete cycle made in the late 1970s has been a high recommendation for this bulwark ever since it first aappeared. Finally, DG has done a thorough remastering, and the results are incredible. The Galleria issue (415832) was a keeper as it was; I've used it as a hi fi demo for years. I never dreamed it could be improved upon. But it has been. It appears this has not just been remastered, but entirely remixed. The balances between the instruments is much more realistic now. The Galleria issue seems almost sterile by comparison. Just listen to the first few minutes of the finale. The sound of bass violin strings being plucked almost drowns out other sounds in teh Galleria, but there is a great subtlety to it in teh new issue. This is worth the price just for the ninth alone. No hesitations. Even if you own other ninths, or prior issues of this recording, get this one.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
my usual set is lso/hatink - i havent found a second set of this work that thrills me as much as this..its outstanding especially the 9th - i havent heard it played bettter with such energy and richness - the sound quality is excellant too..ill be buying the whole set now.
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By ab on 24 Dec. 2014
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The best performance here is the Fifth Symphony, which is well paced and superbly played, it is however a bit monotonous. The least successful performance is the Pastoral. Karajan, it seems to me, either didn't understand, or didn't actually like, the Pastoral very much. It feels like it was a chore to perform it. I have owned both the 1962 and 1978 performances, and they both pull off the amazing trick of making the first movement sound bad tempered! This is not what Beethoven had in mind! It is not just a matter of tempo either; Tennstedt, at a not dissimilar speed, manages to convey Beethoven's "Happy feelings on arriving in the country". This Ninth is rated as a classic, all time great recording. I profoundly disagree. There is some superb playing in the first three movements, but also an inescapable feeling of slickness, as well as, even in this new remastering, some very artificial balances. The finale is let down by truly awful choral singing. For e.g. - at the moment - after the extended, mysterious, slow section of the finale, which begins "be embraced ye millions" - when the upper voices in the choir bounce back in and combine the slow theme with the main theme, the moment which should LIGHT UP - at that moment, in this recording, the pace sags (Karajan's fault), the choir start to sound strained, and they do not recover. A performance of the Ninth with compromised singing cannot be great. Solti (the earlier one) is far superior in the last movement (the singing is awesome) but suffers from a dead-in-the-water rendition of the slow movement. Tennstedt in both his BBC and LPO live performances is better throughout the work in communicating the freshness and sublimity of Beethoven's vision, and - in both performances - the choral singing is superb. Klemperer is on another planet entirely. True greatness lies elsewhere. Seek and ye may find it. Thou shalt know the difference.
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Format: Audio CD
Karajan's very best recordings of 5th, 6th and the magnificent 9th, are vividly restored with more perspective and excellent balance! I've always loved these 70s' stereo version of 5th and the glowing performance of 6th, but this sublime account of 9th is still very special - particularly the palpable sense of occasion and commitment from both chorus and singers, which uplifts the transcendental vision of the finale. A must-buy for any HvK fans!
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Format: Audio CD
Uncle Herbert looks proud of himself as he stands in front of his Lear Jet or Me-262 - oh, for a Bonfire of the Vanities - but in this instance it's warranted.

Two of these performances require little comment. The 1977 Fifth is one of the few performances that could confidently jump into the ring with the Kleiber and emerge with a points-decision. This side of Furtwanger '42, the Choral Symphony from the same cycle is the Big Kahuna of Beethoven Ninths. That leaves the 1977 Pastoral.

Karajan, much like Furtwangler, has been criticised for his Beethoven Sixth. Few will quarrel with his interpretations of the final four movements, particularly when he observes the repeat in the Scherzo (which he does here). It is his tempo in the first movement that attracts the stones: it's "too tense" or "too glib" or "too heartless" or its beauties speed past as if in the slipstream of a bullet-train. Karajan was well known for setting an interpretation in concrete so this criticism is applicable to all of his performances of the Pastoral; it rings true of the performance from '63 which is the Achilles heel of the set, and it is very hard to disagree with SFL's review of the live performance in London in May 1972 - it's even faster than this re-take Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 / Strauss: Ein Heldenleben.

The first movement of the `77 Pastoral is quick on its heels but it has an inner poise that is lacking in its siblings.
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