Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 / Bohm, Bayreuther Festspiele

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The well-known “classical” exception to the canon of ten Wagner works that can be performed on the Green Hill goes back to the master himself: it is of course Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. The most famous recording of one of the rare Bayreuth performances of the symphony is of the legendary concert that reopened the Bayreuth Festival after the war, in 1951, with Wilhelm Furtwangler on the rostrum. That recording was released for the first time, officially and uncut, by Orfeo in association with the Bayreuth Festival in 2008 (C754081). In 1954, Furtwangler conducted the Ninth a second time (ORFEO C851121). 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.



While a distinct improvement on previous exhumations which have done the rounds, Orfeo's excellent new transfer from a Bavarian Radio source only serves to clarify how much Gundula Janowitz dominated her colleagues on this occasion, though they were all more seasoned Bayreuth performers. A significant release from an historical point of view.

– Gramophone

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: ORF-C935171B

  • UPC: 4011790935126

  • Label: Orfeo

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven

  • Conductor: Karl Böhm

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Bayreuth Festival Chorus, Bayreuth Festival Orchestra

  • Performer: George London, Grace Bumbry, Gundula Janowitz, Jess Thomas