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  Universal (Japan) -
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - Ozawa
  Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"

Anne Schwanewilms
Barbara Dever
Paul Groves
Franz Hawlata
Saito Kinen Orchestra
Seiji Ozawa (conductor)
Track listing:
  Classical - Orchestral
Recording type:
Recording info:

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Related titles: 5

Reviews: 1

Review by Jijagua December 21, 2010 (6 of 6 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
This recording is very open, wide and deep. Very nice, especially the depth I felt while listening.

The pace is on par with von Karajan - a little slower than some versions, but it savors the details. I most noticed the big drums and their reverberation and how they burst outward and depth-ward. Because of the pace, Ozawa is able to linger on individual notes. It seems like it is a very sure handed version of the 9th. It's among the most emotional versions I've heard. Now, I have to say that I like the 9th with plenty of drama and potency, to which this recording seems very well matched. I think the overall intent of Ozawa is to convey the emotion of this symphony over any other aspect. Not to say that the orchestra doesn't play with competence - they certainly do. In fact, their playing is quite spirited and adept at bringing forth the drama that Ozawa is trying to accomplish.

The recording is top notch and very fluid. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a very nice sense of depth, strong bass notes and a very good, wide sound stage. I've listened to a variety of versions of the 9th - I'm a bit obsessed as of late - and this one is very good. I have a version by Addado which goes faster, has strong impact, but for some reason the climax of the last movement is reduced by the recording method used. Also, I have a von Karajan version from the early 80's that seems quite similar to Ozawa's, but the sound stage seems compressed. Then there is a version by the Cleveland Orchestra with von Dohnányi which is as competent as can be, but doesn't seem to move me in any way.

Finally, I think it's worth noting that the last movement of the Ozawa 9th thrilled me as much as the best of them. To me, this part is the most important and the most emotional. I'm happy to say that Ozawa does bring that emotion to this last part.

Overall, the performance is very good to me - 4.5 stars - I'm not sure I can give 5 stars to any version of the 9th because my own hopes for it never seem to be realized. It's something along the lines of "I'll know the right 9th when I hear it." kind of thing.

Great disc overall.

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Works: 1  

Ludwig van Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 "Choral"