1.7 C
New York
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Advertisement

Beethoven: Symphony No.9 [Thielemann/Wiener Philharmoniker] (TheaterByte Blu-ray Review)

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 (Christian Thielemann/Wiener Philharmoniker) Blu-ray Disc PackshotThere is no shortage of Beethoven Symphony No.9 performances on Blu-ray disc, and this iconic oversized work opened the doors for subsequent composers like Berlioz and Mahler to write huge symphonic pieces that featured vocal soloists and choruses. The present disc is actually a re-release of a 2010 concert that was included in a box set of Beethoven’s final three symphonies, all with maestro Christian Thielemann leading the Wiener Philharmoniker. Additional forces participating in this work include a vocal quartet of soprano Annette Dasch, alto Mikoko Fujimara, tenor Pyotr Beczala, and bass Georg Zeppenfeld, supported by the Wiener Singverein choral forces led by Johannes Prinz.

Almost everyone knows this symphony from its rousing final movement that brings in the soloists and chorus to render Friederich Schiller’s familiar ode “To Joy,” but there are three preceding movements that are brilliant in their own right. Symphony No 9 opens with spirited but somewhat weighty Allegro ma non troppo that is followed by a Scherzo with fleet dance rhythms (reminiscent of a similarly styled movement in the “Pastorale” Symphony No.6). A heart-felt and ineffably beautiful Adagio molto e cantabile sets up the breakout finale, a movement like no other Beethoven had ever composed, opening with a theme on the low strings that is later reintroduced by the bass soloist and followed by music of the other vocal lines of the ode “To Joy.”

Trivia fanciers might be interested to know that it was this very symphony that determined the maximum playing time of a CD, 80 minutes, and that is exactly the run-time of this performance. Paying due respect to the original tempi, maestro Thielemann gets his musical team to deliver a powerful yet measured account of a towering masterpiece that surely would have pleased its composer had he been able to hear it (he was already deaf when he composed the work). The soloists move from strength to strength and the selection of both the performance venue and the chorus hearken back to the symphony’s premiere in Vienna in 1824.

The Video

Agnes Meth is a very experienced video director and her cameras deliver spot-on coverage of the orchestral players and the singers, together and individually. C Major classical Blu-ray discs always seem to bring out the best in production values and this one is a demonstration-quality watch in its colors, contrasts, and details.

The Audio

The Goldener Saal der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde is an acoustic marvel in the old-school tradition and the audio engineers give us everything that the audience heard in April 2010. Instrumental details, vocal shading, and the dynamics of the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0 soundtrack are simply superb.

The Supplements

As is the case with the entire Thielemann/Wiener Philharmoniker Beethoven cycle, there is a major bonus in the documentary video “Discovering Beethoven” that features both musicologist Joachim Kaiser and conductor Thielemann as the duo takes on a discussion of this symphony. A slim program booklet has cast and production credits, track listings, and a background essay on this work and performance by Harald Reiter.

The Final Assessment

The final installment in possibly the greatest symphonic cycle ever written is the ultimate test of a conductor’s understanding of this complex work and his or her ability to communicate that understanding to the orchestral players. As I have watched conductor Thielemann over the years, I have seen the emergence of one of the truly great musicians of our times. While there are more versions of the Choral Symphony than I can count, this is music making as good as it gets. If you already have the box set of last three Beethoven symphonies, you are good to go but if not, get this one at a bargain price that will provide a great return on investment.

Beethoven: Symphony No.9 [Thielemann/Wiener Philharmoniker] (TheaterByte Blu-ray Review)
4 / 5 TheaterByte Rating
{{ reviewsOverall }} / 5 User Rating (0 votes)
Not RatedRating Certificate
C Major EntertainmentStudios & Distributors
Agnes MethDirector
Ludwig van BeethovenWriter
80 Mins.Run Time
$14.99MSRP
30 Sept. 2016Release Date
1.78:1Aspect Ratio
AVC 1080iVideo
English DTS-HD MA 5.0Audio
English | French | Spanish | Italian | Korean | Chinese | JapaneseSubtitles
LPCM 2.0 StereoSecondary Audio
The Creative Content
The Video
The Audio
The Supplements
Summary
A splendid performance of Beethoven's final symphony with musical and production values that are as good as it gets.
What people say... Login to rate
Order by:

Be the first to leave a review.

User Avatar User Avatar
Verified
{{{ review.rating_title }}}
{{{review.rating_comment | nl2br}}}

This review has no replies yet.

Avatar
Show more
Show more
{{ pageNumber+1 }}

Advertisement

Related Articles

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stay Connected

300FansLike
0FollowersFollow
723FollowersFollow
- Advertisement -

Notice of Compliance with FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION 16 CFR Part 255

In accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR part 255 guidelines, this website hereby states that it receives free discs and other theatrical or home entertainment “screeners” and access to screening links from studios and/or PR firms, and is provided with consumer electronics devices on loan from hardware manufacturers and/or PR firms respectively for the purposes of evaluating the products and its content for editorial reviews. We receive no compensation from these companies for our opinions or for the writing of reviews or editorials.
Permission is sometimes granted to companies to quote our work and editorial reviews free of charge. Our website may contain affiliate marketing links, which means we may get paid commission on sales of those products or the services we write about. Our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers or affiliate partnerships. This disclosure is provided in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR § 255.5: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

Latest Articles

%d bloggers like this: