Listening Club: Beethoven’s Ninth

by Tucson Symphony
Listening Club: Beethoven’s Ninth

José Luis initially planned to celebrate Beethoven’s birthday with performances of Symphony No. 9, “Choral” during the week of the composer’s birthday. He remembers fondly the last time we performed it together in 2018 at the closing of his inaugural season as Music Director. Since that scale of performance is not currently safe, José Luis would like to share insights and the greatness of the Ninth through a listening club!

Listen to the following recordings (and others, if you like!) and explore the differences and enjoy the different approaches. From tempo choices, sounds, changes from one orchestra to another, from one conductor to another, the quartet of soloists, how do all of these nuances change between different recordings? Some are old; some are new. Some are more grandiose; some are more straightforward. What you do like? What don’t you like?

Enjoy José Luis’s playlist! Listen and start coming up with questions today!

First, two versions from two of the most iconic conductors of the 20th century:

Berlin Philharmonic / Herbert Von Karajan

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Vienna Philharmonic / Leonard Bernstein

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Next, an example of strong tradition and intensity from one of the most emblematic maestros in the classical music firmament:

Chicago Symphony Orchestra / Riccardo Muti

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A new breed of conducting approaches:

One with the youthfulness of its conductor and the orchestra, but carrying a strong sense of tradition.

Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra / Gustavo Dudamel

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And last, but not least, one of my preferred versions because of my affinity to the total new approach to Beethoven’s music, liveliness and accuracy without losing the grandiosity of the music itself. It is a very special approach that gives, probably, a closer look to the historically-informed, but modern, performance: smaller forces of musicians on stage, but the same intensity.

Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie / Paavo Järvi

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