Rafael Kubelik

Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9 "Ode à la joie"

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Beethoven: Symphonie No. 9 "Ode à la joie" Review

by Blair Sanderson

Rafael Kubelik's Beethoven interpretations demonstrate both the influence of the Romantic expressive tradition and a modern approach toward transparency and clarity in execution, so listeners who want a powerful recording of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor that is also crystal clear in every detail may find this splendid recording in Deutsche Grammophon's Millennial Collection to be close to ideal. There is plenty of sweeping grandeur, volatile energy, and radiant emotion in this 1976 performance with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and anyone who feels that this symphony above all others should be infused with feelings of human aspiration and cosmic majesty will be satisfied with Kubelik's deeply felt rendition. Similarly, those who seek crisp orchestral playing and fine articulation of parts will be impressed with the precision and tightness of the orchestra, and be glad these musicians were given the best possible reproduction in this clean analog recording. The singing in the Ode to Joy is also of the highest caliber, with impressive solos from bass Thomas Stewart and tenor Wieslaw Ochman, who are joined by soprano Helen Donath and mezzo-soprano Teresa Berganza in the well-controlled and terrific-sounding quartet, and by the Bavarian Radio Chorus in the rousing climaxes. This thrilling recording is highly recommended.

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