Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Choral)

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: Decca Phase 4 Stereo
WORKS: Symphony No. 9 (Choral)
PERFORMER: Soloists; LSO & Chorus, etc/ Leopold Stokowski
CATALOGUE NO: 452 487-2 ADD 1969/75
Well into his eighties, Stokowski was full of ideas about how to perform Beethoven’s Ninth, but I’m not sure they were very good ones. Grand gestures abound in this recording, most noticeably ritenutos not marked in the score, that threaten to bring matters to a grinding halt. There’s much flourish and dash and the stamp of a showman is always clear, but transplanted from the limelight to the cold gleam of posterity, Stokowski’s interventions can appear needless and even gratuitous. Christopher Wood