Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 - Vänskä
Classical - Orchestral
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D minor Op. 125 "Choral"
Helena Juntunen (soprano), Katarina Karneus (alto), Daniel Norman (tenor), Neal Davies (bass)
Minnesota Chorale & Orchestra
Osmo Vänskä (conductor)
Few works of art - musical or otherwise – are as firmly established in the canon of global culture as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. The sheer size and complexity of it is daunting even today, and at the time of its composition it was a highly revolutionary work. Even so, the audience at the first performance, in 1824, was enthusiastic – as audiences have been ever since. Its appeal has not only stood the test of time, however – the Ninth holds significance for people all over the world, regardless of country: the closest we have to a truly universal piece of music. To record such a work is not a task to take lightly.
In preparation for the great occasion, Osmo Vänskä and his Minnesota Orchestra paced themselves by recording two previous discs of Beethoven symphonies, both of which have been greeted with great acclaim. 'It's obvious from the first bars of the Eroica that this is something special... these are great interpretations and a true 21st century take on the music...' wrote the reviewer in Classic FM Magazine of recently released BIS-SACD-1516, while Financial Times' critic stated about the same disc: 'I choose my words carefully when I say this is the best recording of Beethoven symphonies since Carlos Kleiber's with the Vienna Philharmonic a generation ago.' The recording of the Ninth was preceded by three concert performances, and the Minnesota Chorale – one of the finest symphonic choirs in the USA – was meticulously prepared for both concerts and recording.
The quartet of soloists has been handpicked and gives a final edge to this huge ensemble in the final movement's Ode to Joy, filling it with all the excitement that this exciting music invites. About a previous disc the critic of the web site Classics Today wrote: 'There's no question that Osmo Vänskä is a true Beethoven conductor.' There is also no question that Vänskä's account of the greatest of the Beethoven symphonies is something that must be experienced!
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Recorded in January 2006 at Orchestra Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Recording producer: Robert Suff
Sound engineer: Ingo Petry
Technical engineer: Thore Brinkmann
Digital editing: Matthias Spitzbarth, Fabian Frank
Mix/mastering: Ingo Petry, Matthias Spitzbarth
Equipment: Neumann microphones; Stagetec Truematch microphone preamplifier and high resolution A/D converter; MADI optical cabling; Yamaha 02R96 digital mixer; Sequoia Workstation; Pyramix DSD Workstation; B&W Nautilus 802 loudspeakers; STAX headphones
SACD authoring: Bastiaan Kuijt
Executive producers: Robert von Bahr, Robert Suff
Review by Mark Novak - November 7, 2006
Vanska provides us with a valid and intersting reading of this score. It is fleet of foot but it doesn't seem rushed to me. I like the energy he brings to it. The way he elucidates the details of the score make this sound almost like a chamber piece(!) I don't mean that comment at all in a negative way; its just that he makes the score's details apparent throughout. Orchestra, soloists and chorus are all terrific. What a nice addition the Vanska's deveoping LvB series.
Compared to the Haitink LSO Live SACD, the Bis has a bit more space around the orchestra but not too much. Haitink too plays through the score at a goodly pace. Haitink's orchestra sounds a bit more massive and lacks the intimate details that Vanska reveals. I like 'em both a lot. If you like a big, grand, dramatic statement, look elsewhere (there are plenty of those in the recorded catalog).
Copyright © 2006 Mark Novak and HRAudio.net