Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven
LABELS: DG Masters
WORKS: Symphony No. 9 in D minor
PERFORMER: Jessye Norman (soprano), Brigitte Fassbaender (contralto), Plácido Domingo (tenor), Walter Berry (baritone)Vienna State Opera Chorus, Vienna PO/Karl Böhm
CATALOGUE NO: 445 503-2 DDD (1981)
Recorded by the 86-year-old Karl Böhm a year before his death in 1981 with a mouth-watering quartet of top-flight soloists, orchestra and chorus, this is a monument to the conductor’s musical legacy. The antithesis of any literal Beethovenian metronomics, its Teutonic solidity makes it an incredible 20 minutes longer than Gardiner’s version, yet in many ways it convinces from the podium. Plácido Domingo tries unsuccessfully to get Böhm to go faster at the Turkish March; indeed much of the finale is staggeringly slow, which is nearly the undoing of the rather distantly recorded chorus. Not for the faint-hearted.


Christopher Fifield