An even finer Ninth
Ralph J. Steinberg | New York, NY United States | 01/19/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This makes the fifth recording of the Ninth by Furtwaengler which I own, and it is the tautest and most rugged version I know. It also has the most subtle opening of the First Movement. Instead of a motoric buzzing, this version opens with a hazy mist of sound, like clouds gradually forming and breaking into a crushing clap of thunder. The Scherzo is subtler in its tempo contrasts, the Adagio seems to flow more (the timing is about the same as the other versions), and the Ode to Joy is unbearably touching in its Heaven-Storming way. Outside of some flutter in the winds, the recorded sound is good, though not outstanding, unlike the Philharmonia version on Tahra. Yet, I think this would be my desert-island Ninth."
This is a treasure
Theodore Shulman | NYC | 11/01/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I bought this because I am a die-hard Greindl fan, and Greindl is great (he's in his "loud" mode more than in his "intelligent" mode, but he's still great); however, he is not the only great thing about this cd.
First of all, Furtwangler is really tight, he does not lose control, and the bewildering passages of this symphony are bewildering because Beethoven meant them to be so, not because of coordination errors or timing failures, as so often happens in this piece. Furtwangler loves to change tempo unexpectedly; for this reason, every passage is interesting to hear but hard to hum to. Also, he gives the percussion section their head, to good effect especially towards the end of the piece.
The vocal soloists are nicely in tune with other and they stay on pitch. Particularly fine is Imgard Seefried, who flows sweetly without shrieking or squawking. The brief, slow-tempo quartet sections which exchange with the chorus at the end have a real ensemble feeling, with the four soloists clearly listening to each other.