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Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9
Ludwig van Beethoven, Karl Böhm, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (5) - Disc #1

There are two Karl Böhm recordings of Beethoven's Ninth on Deutsche Grammophon, both with the Vienna Philharmonic. This is the later and lesser of the two, recorded just before the great conductor's death. It's terribly ...  more »

      
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There are two Karl Böhm recordings of Beethoven's Ninth on Deutsche Grammophon, both with the Vienna Philharmonic. This is the later and lesser of the two, recorded just before the great conductor's death. It's terribly slow, and reflects all too well the depredations of old age. The earlier one, available as part of his complete Vienna Beethoven cycle at a "twofer" price, is one of the all time great versions of the symphony. Buy that one. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

Absolutely the Best Ninth!
05/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is absolutely the best Ninth available: great conducting; great solo vocalists; great orchestral performance; great recorded sound; great cover art (Munch).As others have noted, this is the "slowest" Ninth around. This is true; but "slow" must not be misunderstood as "dragging." On the contrary, this performance sizzles exactly where it should. And it's not "slow" because Bohm was too old to conduct properly. Actually, this is the finest Ninth realization, because Bohm had a lifetime of experience, and here he really displays his incisive critique: he lets the music breathe: he lets it meditate: he lets brood: he lets it expand unto the cosmos. And this pregnancy of concept gives birth to a realization of rare art. I'm a von Karajan fan, but this realization makes Karajan sound like he's rushing to be finished as quickly as possible, just to be done and go home: Karajan sounds ridiculously fast. No, Bohm lets the gentle Beethoven breathe, giving him time to philosophize. Plus, the disc is at a bargan price: double the satisfaction. Please do yourself (or someone else) a favor: get this disc."
Deeply Moving
01/17/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Though many seem to regard this version of Beethoven's ninth as too slow, I find it very moving and inspirational. Böhm's approach is poetic and lets the listener digest every single note. At the end, it leaves you with a bittersweet sensation of both joy and nostalgy that reminded me that Beethoven was unable to actually hear the grandiosity of his work."
Wonderfully slow
J. Buxton | Waltham, MA United States | 12/17/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I have great affection for this symphony, and I own about 33 different recorded versions. As David Hurwitz points out in his review, it is the slowest performance on record at almost 80 minutes! Although I usually agree with Mr. Hurwitz's reviews, I disagree with him in his comparison to Bohm's earlier Vienna recording. I think this one is better mostly due to the soloists. Norman and Domingo sing like the superstars they are, and I think the slower speeds actually add some dramatic tension. However, if you want to own only one Beethoven nine, look for Bernstein's recording with the Vienna Philharmonic or Giulini's bargain version with the London Symphony."