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Beethoven: The 9 Symphonies / Masur, Et Al


Release Date: 12/14/2004 
Label:  Pentatone   Catalog #: 5186159   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anna Tomowa-SintowAnnelies BurmeisterPeter SchreierTheo Adam
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus OrchestraLeipzig Radio Chorus
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Multi 
Length: 5 Hours 45 Mins. 

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SuperAudio CD:  $58.99
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.

Kurt Masur recorded this, his first complete cycle of Beethoven Symphonies, beginning in February 1972, and winding up in January 1974. Philips used a discreet quadraphonic recording technique, thereby providing genuine surround sound.

PentaTone maintains the purity of their reissues of quadraphonic material by utilizing only four of the available five channels in their digitized SACD reissue. As hybrids, these discs also provide the same performances mixed down to two-channel stereo.

The four-channel sound has two merits: one has a better sense of being in a concert hall, and when the musical textures are
Read more especially complex, one can hear a bit more of everything that is going on. For obvious reasons, the latter effect is most useful in the choral finale of the Ninth Symphony. On the other hand, the connoisseur eager to have the best-sounding cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies should look elsewhere: the “big hall” sound here is not an advantage. There is a lot of echo, even in the two-channel version, and one feels too far from the orchestra to hear the distinctive timbres of the various instruments as high-fidelity recording at its best has brought us, even in the days of monophonic vinyl discs.

What distinguishes this reissue is the quality of Kurt Masur’s interpretations, always faithful to the letter and spirit of Beethoven’s scores, free of eccentricity, and completely engaging. Playful and robust in the more classical scores of the First, Second, Fourth, and Eighth; heroic and solemn by turns in the “Eroica” and the Fifth; poetic in the “Pastorale”; vivacious in the Seventh; and masterful in changing moods in the Ninth. Caught up in the drama and logic of these performances, one will most likely forget that the sound is less than ideal. The orchestra is both disciplined and responsive, and soloists and chorus in the Ninth are as good as any you are likely to hear.

Robert McColley, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1. Symphony no 1 in C major, Op. 21 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1800; Vienna, Austria 
2. Symphony no 2 in D major, Op. 36 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
3. Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
4. Symphony no 4 in B flat major, Op. 60 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1806; Vienna, Austria 
5. Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
6. Symphony no 6 in F major, Op. 68 "Pastoral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1808; Vienna, Austria 
7. Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria 
8. Symphony no 8 in F major, Op. 93 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1812; Vienna, Austria 
9. Symphony no 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Anna Tomowa-Sintow (Soprano), Annelies Burmeister (Mezzo Soprano), Peter Schreier (Tenor),
Theo Adam (Bass)
Conductor:  Kurt Masur
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Leipzig Radio Chorus,  Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1822-1824; Vienna, Austria 
Language: German 

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