Presto -O Freunde, Nicht Diese Tone !-Allegro Assai
This is Simply One of the Greatest, Most Deservedly Legendary Recordings of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Ever Offered to the Public. Tempos and Dynamics Vary Widely, with Fricsay Always Considerate of the Works Many Thematic... more » Challenges. His Handling of the Subtle Rhythmic Gradations of the Molto Vivace is Peerless and Prepare Yourself for One of the Most Exhilarating Allegro Assai Finales this Side of Toscanini. With a Line Up of Soloists Including Irmgard Seefried, Maureen Forrester, Ernst Haefliger, and Dietrich Fischer-dieskau all in their Vocal Prime as Well, it Simply Doesn't Get Any Better Than This. Deutsche Grammophon's Rich Well-balanced Sound is Very Good for It's Vintage. No Matter How Many Performances of this Frequently Recorded Masterpiece You May Already Own, Don't Miss Fricsay's!« less
This is Simply One of the Greatest, Most Deservedly Legendary Recordings of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony Ever Offered to the Public. Tempos and Dynamics Vary Widely, with Fricsay Always Considerate of the Works Many Thematic Challenges. His Handling of the Subtle Rhythmic Gradations of the Molto Vivace is Peerless and Prepare Yourself for One of the Most Exhilarating Allegro Assai Finales this Side of Toscanini. With a Line Up of Soloists Including Irmgard Seefried, Maureen Forrester, Ernst Haefliger, and Dietrich Fischer-dieskau all in their Vocal Prime as Well, it Simply Doesn't Get Any Better Than This. Deutsche Grammophon's Rich Well-balanced Sound is Very Good for It's Vintage. No Matter How Many Performances of this Frequently Recorded Masterpiece You May Already Own, Don't Miss Fricsay's!
"I cannot but wholeheartedly share my colleagues' enthusiasm for this recording. I grew up with it (and, in fact still own the original 2-LP red album shown in this CD's cover, numbered by DGG -yes, back then they had an extra "D" in their name- as 138002/3 SLPM, one of their very first essays in the then novel stereophonic technology) and it still remains very close to me. Besides the 9th Symphony and the Egmont Overture presented in this reissue, the original release included an excellent rendition of the Leonora Overture No. 3, left out now (I suppose) so that a second CD would not be needed. The CD's higher transfer volume helps in bringing the sound closer to the listener (DGG apparently having decided to play it safe when their engineers cut the LPs' masters in 1958) and conferring to it an immediacy and transparency new to me whilst preserving its beautiful tone.
There's not much I can add to what has been written by others in this site, apart perhaps that by 1957 the Berlin Philharmonic still was very much, staff-wise, what it was under Furtwangler and it shows in this recording's sonority. After all, the grand old man had died scarcely 3 years before these works were put into tape, Karajan had just taken over the orchestra as chief conductor and the lean, muscular and to-the-point sound that became characteristic under his long regime was still two or three years into the future. Karajan took to rotate the orchestra's musicians fairly often, far more often actually than was customary with his predecessors and the results of the first shake-up became apparent when in 1962 the same company presented the first of Karajan's three Beethoven symphony cycles he'd record with them, when the orchestra's new virtuosity surprised critics the world over (Karajan had in his record a prior Beethoven symphony cycle, made for EMI during the fifties with the Philharmonia Orchestra). But what we get here, and in fine early stereophony, is the grand old sonority of the orchestra, the one that still had links to the pre-war years but which soon enough would evolve into an instrument capable of aweing its audiences under their new and starry conductor on account of its virtuosity and perfection.
But Fricsay's interpretations differ greatly from Furtwangler's. There is a tautness of approach, a more modern focusing on architecture that does not look back in time as much of Furtwängler's work did (but splendidly so, I must add), embedded as it was on german romanticism, but decidedly centres in our own time. Fricsay's approach to the Symphony's 4th movement is as modern as the late fifties allowed to, marking a singular kind-of-extrapolated cue to today's "historically aware" presentations, and DGG feted him with an outstanding quartet of vocal soloists. Yes, the 3rd movement is slow, perhaps harking back to the grand old man's ways but Fricsay gave us lessons of tempo handling in the first and second movements that have nothing to do with Furtwangler's fluctuations, an approach decidedly his, full of musicianship and with a solid grasp of the beethovenian language. So it is also in the performance of the Egmont Overture which fortunately made its way to the disc.
Yes, cancer robbed us of an immensely talented conductor who probably would have rivalled Karajan (who was but a few years his senior) during much of the second half of the 20th Century. What would have become of Fricsay's career is anybody's guess, as is the case with other conductors (like Cantelli, for example) whose careers were cut short by untimely death, but mind you, if you decide to buy this disc you will end up with one of the finer recordings this warhorse has had ever."
Michael B. Richman | Portland, Maine USA | 08/15/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ferenc Fricsay's performance of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (and Egmont Overture) with the Berlin Philharmonic has to be counted among the greatest versions ever recorded. Reissued on CD in the DG Originals series (don't confuse it with Karajan's 9th featuring a remarkably similar cover), this was the first version of the 9th to appear in stereo back in 1958, and it was Deutsche Grammophon's first ever stereo recording with the Berlin Philharmonic. It was a landmark event to be sure, and who better to entrust it with than Fricsay, a colossal figure in his day. Had he not died tragically young at age 48 in 1963, Fricsay would surely be mentioned today in the same company as Karajan and Bernstein. But Fricsay is presently getting his due as two recent reissues attest -- his "Great Conductors of the Century" collection won a Grammophone Award prompting DG to release a 9-CD box set of his recordings in their "Original Masters" series (see my reviews for both titles). Anyway, this glowing account of the 9th is a great place to begin with Fricsay, then be prepared to want more by this brilliant conductor."
Careful, this is not the Exact item some of the reviews ment
Diego A. Duque Tascon | 01/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A note for the people interested in buying the MP3 download, most of the reviews are linked from the [Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9; Overture "Egmont" (Audio CD)] and not for this specific download. This download is an interpretation from Jansug Kakhidze, a Georgian conductor (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000S2A2X0/ref=dm_dp_adp_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1201114048&sr=1-10), not from the exceptional interpretations mentioned in some of the reviews. The price is amazingly low anyway, so it might be worth for someone looking for a deal. Regards."
Karajan's Rival: Ferenc Fricsay
Rudy Avila | Lennox, Ca United States | 09/28/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While many people hail Karajan and his Berlin Philharmonic forces with interpreting the best Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, I am not alone in stating that conductor Ferenc Frisay, who died of cancer in the early 60's, was a genuine rival and could have even surpassed Karajan. His version of the Ninth is absolutely brilliant. The tempi is conducted at a compelling pace, not too fast or too slow, though Fricsay has conducted in usually swift fashion. The miraculous exactitude of the strings falling and raising can be heard over this remastered disc. The opening Allegro movement is powerful, visceral and majestic. The Scherzo is played in the finest way I've ever heard. The slow, spiritual and romantic Andante Cantabile is heartbreaking and tender, Fricsay conducting at his finest. This long sigh is delivered with touching pathos by the Berlin forces. The Finale, with its famous use of chorus "Ode to Joy" is joyous itself. The cast here includes celebrated singers like the unsurpassed baritone Dietrich Fischer Dieskau (in young 1958 voice) and the mezzo soprano Maureen Forrester sounds ravishing. This was the first LP on Stereo of Beethoven's 9th and thus is a collector's item as well. Fans of Fricsay will want to own this recording, and it does indeed rival Karajan's version. If I were to recommend three great Beethoven 9th recordings I would say: Fricsay, Karajan and Solti's versions."