Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Claudio Abbado, Waltraud Meier|
Beethoven: Symphonie Nr. 9
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Still the best recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony curre
John Kwok | New York, NY USA | 04/11/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Although I greatly admire Bernard Haitink's recent LSO Live recording of this work, using the same Barenreiter Edition score, I still regard Abbado's Sony live recording (1996 Salzburg Easter Festival) as one of the most impressive, definitive recordings of the Beethoven 9th Symphony. It remains noteworthy in part because it was the first recording of the 9th Symphony using the Barenreiter Edition score, and the first one demonstrating that Abbado had begun taking a new, more radical, approach to Beethoven's symphonies relying upon period instrument-informed practice and the new Barenreiter Edition. There is a tremendous sense of vitality and joy which emanates from the Berliner Philharmoniker and the soloists, making this too one of the finest live recordings of a major orchestral work which I've heard. Meanwhile Abbado adheres closely to the score, including observing all the repeats, which is why this memorable version may seem longer than other, popularly acclaimed versions such as those which Herbert von Karajan recorded for Deutsche Grammophon with the Berliner Philharmoniker.
Abbado would record the 9th Symphony a few years later with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Swedish Radio Choir and Eric Ericson Chamber Choir, but using a different set of soloists. His Deutsche Grammophon version is slightly leaner-textured, with faster tempi, and though it is a fine recording in its own right, it just doesn't quite compete with Abbado's earlier 1996 recording. Along with the splendid playing by the Berliner Philharmoniker under Abbado's crisp direction, yet another reason to acquire this fine CD is to hear Ben Heppner's memorable tenor solos in the "Ode to Joy" section of the fourth movement (This is yet another reason why I think Abbado's later Deutsche Grammophon recording and Haitink's recent LSO Live recording suffer slightly in comparison; as for Osmo Vanska's account which I have not yet heard, I will say that having heard live concert performances of the Beethoven 4th and 5th symphonies at Carnegie Hall several weeks ago, I would have to rate much higher the quality of the musicianship shown by the Berliner Philharmoniker and the London Symphony Orchestra respectively in Abbado's and Haitink's recent Beethoven symphony cycles. Admittedly it may not be a fair comparison to judge a very good American orchestra with two of Europe's - and the world's best - but I think it is an apt comparison.). If you are seeking just one recent definitive recording of the Beethoven 9th Symphony, then Abbado's 1996 recording has to be it; otherwise, you should consider seriously both his later Deutsche Grammophon recording and Haitink's recent LSO Live recording as viable alternatives."
Good If This Kind of Interpretation Is Your Cup Of Tea
dv_forever | Michigan, USA | 11/05/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Do you want a Beethoven Ninth with fairly modern insights? With all the notes played? With good sound and fine contributions from the vocalists and the chorus? With a refreshingly self-effacing conductor who leads a great orchestra? With not much going on philosophically/dramatically, lacking passionate yearning and missing most of the mystical, transcendental elements of this music? If you answered yes to all of that, this Claudio Abbado recording is for you. It is very literal-minded and never rises to any heightened sense of the sublime. No, instead Abbado is firmly pragmatic and earth bound. But hey, if that's your thing, go ahead and buy this.
While most of the performance is very light hearted, we do get some more passion in the finale but not that much to save it, is this really a live recording? Where is the sense of occasion that this music so rightly deserves?
Personally I gravitate to truly unique performances of Beethoven such as Furtwangler conducted all those many decades ago and whose mesmerizing, elemental music-making has never been matched since. Claudio Abbado is himself an admirer of Furtwangler but Abbado's lack of feeling and insight is not going to cut it in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, a work that redefined the art of music for all time."
Polished and skillful, but without passion
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 02/19/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Abbado can give very good and even great Beethoven performances live. In the tragic week after 9/11 he brought the Berlin Phil. to Chicago, where their reading of the Eroica and Pastorale was very moving. This isn't a Ninth on the same plane. Despite the excellent vocal quartet in the finale, there is little sense of occasion here, just a plished reading without risks or depth of feeling.
Beginning with the opening bars, which should be haunting and premonitory, I kept listening for mystery and dramatic intensity, but couldn't find them. The Scherzo went along well enough in an almost chipper way, but the sublime slow movement never rose to express the composer's noble intentions. The choral finale was accomplished from orchestra, chorus, and soloists, but it struck no deep chords. The recorded sound was nothing special the first time around, so I bought this DSD "enhanced" remastering, but it still falls shosrt in dramatic impact, clarity and detail.
All told, Abbado's later performance on DG as part of his complete cycle is a touch more exciting and personal. He has yet to give us a great account, however."