Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony No.9 | Alpha ALPHA227

Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony No.9

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Label: Alpha

Cat No: ALPHA227

Barcode: 3760014192272

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Instrumental

Release Date: 22nd January 2016

Gramophone Editor's Choice



After four previous discs devoted to Franz Liszt’s transcriptions of the Beethoven symphonies, the pianist Yury Martynov completes the cycle with the transcription of the Ninth Symphony.

The reduction of this complex work for a single piano and two hands – he had already adapted it for two pianos – constituted a genuine challenge for Liszt, who was obliged to omit certain inner parts. Yet he succeeded in reproducing the symphony’s prodigious character and revealing its incredible power. The piano combines the orchestra, the soloists and the chorus, unifying these disparate voices in a single instrument.

The work’s energy and its textures are displayed to the full in Yury Martynov’s performance on a Blüthner piano dating from 1867 and belonging to the Edwin Beunk collection.


From the beginning, with Martynov’s skilful evocation of the lightning-bolt open fifths piercing the ominous clouds that cloak the Ninth’s first moments, the overwhelming impression is not of reduction but of an enlargement, an opening out, a sudden clarification of this familiar music. Paradoxically, Beethoven’s titanic vision, far from being tamed or diminished, looms even larger, more terrifying than is normally communicated in orchestral performances. ... The metamorphosis from the storm unleashed at the opening of the finale to the imploring earnestness of the ‘Ode to Joy’ is stunningly affecting. ... It seems safe to say that [Martynov] has given us the Beethoven-Liszt cycle for our time, and one unlikely soon to be superseded.  Patrick Rucker
Gramophone April 2016
... the long orchestral passage preceding [‘Seid umschlungen, Millionen’] is thrilling as transcribed by Liszt, and the double fugue that follows it is equally astounding - especially in the hands of a virtuoso like Yury Martynov. His performance is altogether a tour de force, and only his handling of the second theme in the slow movement is puzzling... But that’s a small point: anyone who’s been following Martynov’s Beethoven symphonies cycle will want to hear this.  Misha Donat
BBC Music Magazine April 2016

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