Best Recordings of Beethoven’s Symphonies

I’ve been looking for the best recordings of Beethoven’s 5th and 9th symphonies (my favorites). Finding the best recording of the 5th was quick and easy (Kleiber’s) but finding my favorite of the 9th is tougher. Either they get the orchestral part right, but not the choral, or the other way around, but never both it seems.

Has anyone found the perfect 9th symphony recording?

These are pictures of the graveyard at Old St. Patricks (where Alec Baldwin recently got married, by the way — not in the graveyard of course, but in the church).

Old St. Patrick's Graveyard

Old St. Patrick's Graveyard

Old St. Patrick's Graveyard

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

3 thoughts on “Best Recordings of Beethoven’s Symphonies

  1. Can’t help you with Beethoven, but like your cemetery pictures. I’m not religious, but I love to roam through old cemeteries!

    When late husband was researching his genealogy, we went to many old cemeteries and located some of his relatives. Also, one of my distant cousins was a history professor who lived in Selma; I visited him and his wife one time, and he took me on a tour of all the old cemeteries there.

    I guess that seems weird, but it’s interesting to see the names/dates of those who lived lives long ago. Oh, and Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountain Park, I am simply astounded by their old cemeteries…and the sad loss of so many infants to communicable diseases that no longer pose much of a threat today.

  2. I’ll bet the cemeteries in the south are beautiful. Are they? I imagine them as more lush than ours.

  3. Stacy, my favorite recording of the 9th is by the Vienna Philharmonic, Karl Boehm conducting – but they’ve recorded it several times. I recommend this one with Gwyneth Jones:

    Two reasons: 1) The bassoon countermelody at the beginning of the Ode to Joy will make you cry; 2) the handoffs between the solos are so seamless I forget which soloist is singing.

    See if you agree. I have several other recordings of the 9th but this is the one I always come back to.

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