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Beethoven: 9 Symphonies - Blomstedt

Beethoven: 9 Symphonies - Blomstedt

Berlin Classics x Tower Record  0301286BC (5 discs)

Stereo Hybrid

Classical - Orchestral


Beethoven: 9 Symphonies

Helena Doese (soprano)
Marga Schiml (alto)
Peter Schreier (tenor)
Theo Adam (baritone)
Rundfunkchor Leipzig, Chor der Staatsoper Dresden
Dresden Staatskapelle
Herbert Blomstedt (conductor)

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Comment by Joseph Ponessa - October 4, 2020 (1 of 2)

Herbert Blomstedt conducted the Dresdner Staatskapelle 1975-1985, and made recordings with them for the East-German Eterna label, which has been renamed Berlin Classics. For their seventieth anniversary they have reissued some of the gems from their catalogue — on CD or LP or SACD (in collaboration with Tower Records of Japan). At least three of the SACD collections glisten with brilliance: the late Mahler's 9 & 10 with Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Kurt Sanderling in Berlin, and two complete Beethoven symphonic cycles conducted by the elder Franz Konwitschny in Leipzig and by the younger Herbert Blomstedt in Dresden. I mean you will not discover finer Mahler or Beethoven anywhere else, and the SACD sounds like master tape — from which it comes!
Konwitschny began conducting the year before Blomstedt was born, and Blomstedt has continued conducting for nearly sixty years since Konwitschny died. So these two Beethoven sets, though only twenty years apart (1959-1962 and 1975-1980) represent more than ninety years of unbroken performance tradition, both in the DDR and elsewhere. They testify amply to the high level of East German musicianship both before and after the erection of the Berlin Wall. Although one set is from Dresden and the other from Leipzig, members of the Rundfunkchor Leipzig sing in both Ninths, and the then-ubiquitous Dresdner bass soloist Theo Adam also sings in both of them.
As he finished his tenure in Dresden in March 1985, Blomstedt conducted Beethoven's Ninth for the gala reopening of the Semperoper. By then, I had already encountered his work on one of the earliest Pioneer of Japan laserdiscs, on which he and the Dresden forces, on tour in Tokyo, performed Schubert's Unfinished and Bruckner's Fourth, which have remained my points of reference for these works. He has a recent Beethoven Ninth and two very fine performances of Bach's B-Minor Mass on Blu-ray from Leipzig. His greatest recorded achievement on SACD, apart from this Beethoven cycle, is his Bruckner set from Leipzig. Both are awesome!

Comment by DYB - October 11, 2020 (2 of 2)

I'm a big Blomstedt fan (less so Konwitschny; I've tried to like his Beethoven cycle more than once. Every time I play something from it I am bored to death...) But anyway, Blomstedt's Gewandhaus Beethoven cycle is fantastic as well! (And yes, that Bruckner/Gewandhaus cycle is superb.)