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Beethoven: Symphony No. 9; Claudio Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Hermann Prey, Ludwig van Beethoven, Claudio Abbado
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9; Claudio Abbado, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (4) - Disc #1

Claudio Abbado recorded two Beethoven Ninths within a very short space of time, one in Vienna, and one with the Berlin Philharmonic. It's this kind of useless duplication that is killing the classical record business, pa...  more »

      
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Amazon.com
Claudio Abbado recorded two Beethoven Ninths within a very short space of time, one in Vienna, and one with the Berlin Philharmonic. It's this kind of useless duplication that is killing the classical record business, particularly as neither performance offers any particular insights or revelations. There was a time when a performance of this symphony was a major event. Now it's routine, and so is this recording. --David Hurwitz

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CD Reviews

I disagree with the Amazon reviewer
Johnson Lee | Irvine, CA USA | 09/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a performance full of passion and affection. It also has a virtue many super-charged recordings miss - the optimistic warmth (=Abbado's specialty). This aspect is less highlighted in his Berlin recording for Sony. The balance between different instruments is sometimes ideal and sometimes interesting. Strings are lush and bright. Woodwinds are warm but accentuated when required. The timpani, a vital instrument in this symphony, is punchy but never obtrusive. Choir is magnificent AND well-recorded, which is a rare case. Male soloists are super.
And yes, it's also a fairly traditional, old school approach, which is more spacious and grand-scale than the recent period instrument recordings or their likes (Harnoncourt, Gardiner, Zinman, Abbado's recent Berlin cycle for DG, Rattle, etc).
If you are on a quest of finding a shockingly fresh approach to the 9th, look somewhere else. If you are looking for a powerful yet heartfelt performance of 9th with top-notch male soloists and a choir, you will be VERY happy with this recording. The live recording is clear yet warm with plenty of ambience."
Impressive
David Saemann | 04/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I have not heard Abbado's subsequent two recordings of the Ninth in Berlin, but apparently the last one is very different from the CD we have here, taking over 10 minutes less time. This CD with the Vienna Philharmonic takes over 72 minutes, which seems to me a judicious pace which allows for a lot of detail to come through. The 1986 sound engineering is superb, especially for a live recording. DG had had considerable experience recording Bernstein live in Vienna by this time, and the lessons seem to have been applied to this recording. The dynamic range of the recording is extremely wide. You have to play the CD at a loud volume for the complete sonic picture to come through. Once you do this, you will be rewarded with one of the most lucid presentations of the Ninth I ever have heard. In the first movement, Abbado subtly alters the tempo to reflect the dramatic essence of each of the episodes. His Scherzo is beautifully played and elementally clear, with a speedy, delightful Trio. The slow movement has a wonderfully heartfelt melos, reaching its peak in the splendid brass fanfares, where Abbado slows down just a tad for empahasis. The finale is offered on a big scale. The tenor takes a little getting used to, but the other soloists are splendid. Hermann Prey sings his opening solo elegantly, with just the occasional strain on a low note. The sonic perspective on his solo alters when the chorus comes in, the only audio blemish I can cite in this recording. The chorus is superb. Throughout, the Vienna Philharmonic plays at its peak, offering a performance comparable technically to Maazel's Cleveland version. I played this CD three times the night I got it. It is that compelling."
Good performance nonetheless...
Shota Hanai | Torrance, CA | 05/27/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Abbado is certainly one of the "ideal" Beethovenian conductors since Karajan, and has done Beethoven pretty frequently, including three recorded performances of Beethoven's timeless Ninth Symphony.

Of the three recordings he did, this is the first one (Vienna Philharmonic DG) he did, ... and the least impressive. It's a good performance nonetheless, the tempi and the singers and all, but a bit lacks the intensity and clarity in the two recordings (Berlin Philharmonic Sony and Berlin Philharmonic DG) the Maestro would do even better.

I highly recommend the Sony recording. That one should be a legend!"