Carl Schuricht

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9

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Thanks, it's been rational. Not that it hasn't been frightening -- the climaxes of the opening Allegro ma non troppo un poco maestoso are terrifying -- and exciting -- the canonic entrances of the following Molto vivace are exhilarating -- and uplifting -- the variations of the following Adagio molto e cantabile are elevating -- and transforming -- the choral before the double fugue in the Finale is transubstantiating. But, above all else, Carl Schuricht's recording of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with the Swiss Orchestra National is rational. Schuricht radiates an understanding of the score that comprehends its heights and depths, its agonies and its ecstasies, and expresses them with a clarity and a lucidity that recall a philosopher as much as a musician. Not that there aren't irrational elements to the performance: after all, the performers are human and the sometimes queasy intonation of the winds or thinness of the strings or cracked tone of the brass or instability of the chorus or irregularities of the soloists are only to be expected. But the performance strives to transcend these few unhappy flaws with rational equanimity and, for the most part, succeeds. While there is perhaps still reason to prefer, say, Furtwängler's or Walter's or Klemperer's or Böhm's approaches to Schuricht, there is still reason to hear Schuricht's enlightened approach. Music & Arts' sound is a bit hazy, a little close, and a lot raw, but it is still honest.

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