Mariss Jansons / Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 [2012 Recording]

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Mariss Jansons' Beethoven cycle on BR Klassik is notable mainly for the first-rate performances, but also for the companion pieces Jansons commissioned from 21st century composers, intended as commentary on the symphonies and to demonstrate how Beethoven's influence persists today. Yet for the final volume, the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, "Choral," is presented by itself, without any additional pieces. This is for the best, considering the effectiveness of Jansons' passionate interpretation and the superb performance by the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra & Chorus, which is transcendent and in no need of a bonus piece to attract attention. Here, the focus is entirely on this magnificent work, and Beethoven's most powerful symphony receives a deeply expressive reading that stands securely on its own. While some small details of this live performance are lost in the mix, the playing is compelling and the sound is excellent for the most part.

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