Mariss Jansons / Bavarian Radio Chorus / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 [2007 Recording]

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Not to be confused with Mariss Jansons' 2012 recording of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral," which was issued in 2015 as part of a complete cycle of the symphonies, this 2017 release on BR Klassik presents a live performance given for Pope Benedict XVI, which the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Chorus recorded in 2007. Most of the musicians are the same between the two recordings, except that soprano Krassimira Stoyanova and alto Lioba Braun are members of the quartet with tenor Michael Schade and baritone Michael Volle, who sang in the later recording. In essentials, this reading of Beethoven's monumental symphony is standard issue, with a mainstream interpretation that presumably treats the symphony as a postwar symbol of peace and international cooperation, rather than as an artifact of Beethoven's time. Undoubtedly, Jansons is aware of the famous performance by Leonard Bernstein, who conducted the work with the same orchestra and chorus, following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. The tendency to treat the Ninth as an event of global implications certainly altered its reception in the 20th century, and traditionalists who regard it as a touchstone of post-WWII optimism and brotherhood may be sympathetic to this version. Even so, listeners who prefer a leaner period style for the Ninth will likely give it a pass.

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