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Beethoven: Symphony No 9 / Böhm, Et Al

Release Date: 08/29/2006 
Label:  Profil   Catalog #: 6035   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Elisabeth HöngenTorsten RalfJosef HerrmannMargarete Teschemacher
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden StaatskapelleDresden State Opera Chorus
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
Length: 1 Hours 5 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN Symphony No. 9 Karl Böhm, cond; Dresden Staatskapelle; Dresden St Op Ch; Margarete Teschemacher (sop); Elisabeth Höngen (mez); Torsten Ralf (ten); Josef Herrmann (bs) PROFIL 6035, mono (65:22)

This recording, produced in 1941, is one of a large number that Böhm made for Electrola at the time. The date is significant, the impact of the burgeoning war separating Germany from that company’s parent HMV label. With the exception of the Beethoven G-Major Concerto with Gieseking, none of Read more those recordings found their way into the US market during the 78-rpm era. But all were brought together in three multi-LP sets by EMI in 1979. Reviewing those sets (4:1), I called this Ninth one of the most fascinating items in the batch, adding the following: “Judged in the context of all the domestically released 78 editions—by Weingartner (two versions, 1926 and 1935), Coates, Stokowski, Koussevitzky, and Ormandy—this Böhm performance surpasses all but the later Weingartner. It is an expansive, powerful reading attesting to Böhm’s sound musicianship and his recognition of the work as a carefully structured Classical score.”

Revisiting it does not change my mind. Moreover, as heard in this transfer, it is superior to the Electrola LP in terms of better equalization that removes considerable surface scratch from the background and an unpleasant shrillness from the strings. And obviously eliminated is the LP’s awkward side-break in the middle of the third movement. In addition, the sound—for its time—is remarkably good, particularly in its uncommonly wide dynamic range. Today, of course, one might object to several facets of the reading: the excessive slowing of the pace for the first movement’s coda, omission of both repeats in the second, the weird affectations of Josef Herrmann in his initial recitative, and the uncommonly slow tempo of the alla marcia later in the finale. Nonetheless, considering its date and provenance, this is a commanding reading and one with considerable documentary value. Still, its appeal will probably be to those with interests in the historical or in Böhm.

FANFARE: Mortimer H. Frank
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Works on This Recording

Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Elisabeth Höngen (Mezzo Soprano), Torsten Ralf (Tenor), Josef Herrmann (Baritone),
Margarete Teschemacher (Soprano)
Conductor:  Karl Böhm
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Dresden Staatskapelle,  Dresden State Opera Chorus
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1941 
Venue:  Live  Semperoper, Dresden, Germany 
Length: 65 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: German 

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