Music Review

Beethoven: The Nine Symphonies (1990)

EW's GRADE
B+

Details Lead Performances: Philharmonia Orchestra and Herbert von Karajan; Genre: Classical

The Herbmeister recorded the Beethoven symphonies four times: thrice with the Berlin Philharmonic and once -- the first time -- with England's Philharmonia Orchestra. The best cycle remains the incomparable 1961-62 Berlin version, but this set (recorded 1951-55) is strong: light, bright, and right on the money. Four years after the Allies slapped a one-and-a-half-year denazification ban on Karajan's conducting activities, the young (44) maestro was frisky and ready to party. The British record producer Walter Legge gave him a band, turned on the tape recorder, and the rest is history.

Originally posted Sep 19, 2003 Published in issue #1 Feb 16, 1990 Order article reprints