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Beethoven’s euphoric Symphony No.9, like his symphony No.5, is one of those pieces of classical music which transcends the barrier between musical genres – one of the few pieces of the classical canon in the popular consciousness. Few can fail to be uplifted and caught up in the joyous 'Ode to Joy' finale. For this performance, recorded live at the Edinburgh International Festival in 1994, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment were joined by the renowned conductor and long-time collaborator, Sir Charles Mackerras, a partnership between him and the OAE that lasted almost a quarter of a century.
This is Signum’s second release with the OAE, following a release of Monteverdi’s Vespers (SIGCD237) earlier this year.
The next release, planned for December, will feature Sarah Connolly performing Mahler’s 'Totenfeier' and 'Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen' with the OAE under Vladimir Jurowski.
I. Allegro Ma Non Troppo, Un Poco Maestoso
II. Scherzo: Molto Vivace
Iii. Adagio Molto E Cantabile
Iv. Presto - Allegro Ma Non Troppo - Vivace - Adagio Cantabile
13th November 2011
“Listening to this superb performance from the 1994 Edinburgh Festival, you wonder how anyone could have been puzzled by, or have resisted, the composer’s metronome marks.... Fine choral singing by the New Company, and Mackerras’s masterly control, make the finale as electrifying as only it can be.”
2nd December 2011
“Mackerras’s 1994 Edinburgh festival performance with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment is one of the most thrilling Beethoven interpretations I have ever heard. It bristles with revolutionary spirit...yet Mackerras’s way with this symphony is all part of a coherent vision. The OAE play like gods and demons, with pure string timbres one moment, raw woodwinds the next”
“This is a performance on period instruments by a chamber orchestra, but that is not to say that the sound lacks body...The OAE's playing is lean and muscular but there's plenty of espressivo and lyricism too...Sir Charles takes a brisk approach to the score...The four soloists are excellent. In particular, the purity of Amanda Roocroft's soprano makes Beethoven's weird vocal writing much less of a trial than usual.”
“The sleeve-note of this disc describes Beethoven's Ninth Symphony as 'euphoric', and that is exactly the word to apply to this performance. No passage from darkness to light here, but a pervasive exaltation even in the first movement...However many Ninths you own, add this to your treasury.”
“this one deserves a special place in any collection, even for collectors who already have one or more of the other Mackerras recordings...its freshness, insight and jubilation is undimmed, earning this disc the warmest possible recommendation.”
“The highlight: a spectacularly well-judged second movement Scherzo, punctuated by insanely hard-hitting timpani eruptions, kept persistently edgy and thrillingly unstable throughout. Mackerras's vocalists are top-notch too, and the long finale is brisk but plugged into seemingly inexhaustible momentum...Mackerras's account has drive and integrity in spades.”
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