Beethoven - Symphony no.9
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Label: Orfeo - Orfeo d'Or
Cat No: C935171B
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 13th October 2017
ArtistsGundula Janowitz (soprano)
Grace Bumbry (mezzo-soprano)
Jess Thomas (tenor)
George London (bass-baritone)
Chor und Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele
Much less well-known, and issued here for the first time in a live recording, is a performance conducted by Karl Böhm in 1963 to mark the 150th anniversary of Richard Wagner’s birth and the 80th anniversary of his death. Here we witness the emergence of a new musical generation. Böhm had made his Bayreuth debut the year before with Tristan, which he returned to in 1963, additionally taking over Meistersinger the following year and the Ring in 1965; he thus became one of the defining Bayreuth conductors of the 60s. Böhm chose a version with the orchestra retouched in places by Wagner himself and with a much strengthened choir of 217 singers. The performance is nevertheless poles apart from the pathos and impulsive exuberance of Furtwängler’s interpretative style of the previous decade. Böhm’s conducting is extraordinarily concentrated, collected, rigorous in its forward impetus, and as a result liberating and, on another level, enthralling – thanks in part also to a glittering quartet of soloists: Gundula Janowitz, Grace Bumbry, Jess Thomas and George London, some of the best voices at Bayreuth in those years.
Mono recording (Bayerischen Rundfunks), 23 July 1963, Festpielhaus Bayreuth
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