Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Walter Berry, Ludwig van Beethoven, Otto Klemperer|
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 "Choral"
Listen to Samples
One of the two or three, perhaps the greatest on record
Warren R. Davis | Haddonfield, NJ USA | 09/10/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget the studio versions by Klemperer and the Philharmonia, which lack both the passion and the spontaneity of the live performances. Of the latter there are two outstanding choices, the 1957 and the 1961 performances, both on BBC Testament. The earlier performance drips with drama and anticipation - you can almost imagine being there. The 1961 recording is less immediately dramatic, maybe because it's recorded for or from a BBC broadcast. As a whole neither performance surpasses the other; and their differences are strengths.
The 1957 version of the 1st movement is tauter, more polished, and certainly more dramatic (the timpani over recorded, though).
I have not heard a better 2nd movement than the 1957 version, a true dialectical tension drives the entire movement, and this rhythmic performance, especially in a concert, is almost mystical. On the other hand, the 1961 version, heard in this recording, makes up for the magic of 1957 with some nifty timpani playing creating an effect I've never heard before in listening to at least fifty versions of this symphony.
But the real magic in 1961 comes through in the 3rd and 4th movements. This is possibly the swiftest 3rd you'll hear. But more than that, it embraces the dance elements to bring the movement to an equal status rarely enjoyed under other batons. Most conductors either skim the score or trudge through this movement. Here it is all it was meant to be.
The last movement is as good as it gets. Not as "perfect" as a Karajan performance, none of which were recorded as "live concerts." And Karajan made sure all the parts of the music served the larger scheme, leaving the tempi less flexible, the sound less musical. Karajan's forte was maximizing power. Klemperer was the Dionysius to Karajan's Apollo.
Aside from a couple of apparent minor blemishes in the quartet's live performance harmony (difficult to know for sure due to monaural recording), the soloists are engaging. The chorus is riveting. Klemperer's musicians often attributed his genius to his natural and unadorned style. (The liner notes repeat the view here.) This performance shows the result. The Beethoven we hear in this recording may be the more authentic because it is so revealing. Klemperer seeks and finds the way to Beethoven's debts to earlier masters, even Haendel among them - you must be reminded of the festival music at the climactic moments here. As rendered by Klemperer and friends, one can imagine the delight of the composer and his contemporaries of 19th century Vienna if they could hear this now. By the end, you, too, might be convinced this is the way it was meant to be. For the record, the other two interpreters I would rank equally with Klemperer in this work would be Karajan (any of the three BPO versions) and Bruno Walter (with either the NYPO, the Columbia Symphony, or the one I favor with the London Philharmonic recorded 1947)."
Ryan Kouroukis | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 12/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Forget about Klemp's studio version AND the '57 performance...they simply don't compare to Klemp in 1961!
The drama, the thrust, the passion, the expressivness...
This undoubtebly ranks along side Furtwangler's wartime 9th.
The mono sound has been fantastically redone.
You must get this!