Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125

Beethoven: Symphony No. 9 in D Minor, Op. 125

Just six weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, Leonard Bernstein arrived in the city to conduct a special Christmas Day performance of Beethoven’s Choral Symphony complete with an “Ode to Joy” metamorphosed to an “Ode to Freedom” (“Freiheit”) for the occasion. Bernstein was at his best when making the grand gesture, and this is grand indeed. A specially assembled international orchestra and choruses from both East and West play with overwhelming commitment. There may be tidier accounts, but few that speak so powerfully of universal brother- and sisterhood. A timely return to circulation for a glorious one-off.

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