Beethoven: Symphony No.9 ‘Choral’ Op 125 & Choral Fantasy Op 80

Beethoven: Symphony No.9 ‘Choral’ Op 125 & Choral Fantasy Op 80—Christiane Karg, soprano; Sophie Harmsen, mezzo-soprano; Werner Güra, tenor; Florian Boesch, bass; Kristian Bezuidenhout, fortepiano; Freiburger Barockorchester, Zürcher Sing-Akademie, Pablo Heras-Casado, conductor (Harmonia Mundi 902431)

As part of the Beethoven 250 celebration, here is a double album that demonstrates how the composer turned a strange hybrid work into one of the cornerstones of Western music.  It reflects the exemplary work of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, an ensemble whose name by no means limits its excursions into later repertories.  Pablo Heras-Casado leads a profoundly renewed vision of the Ninth Symphony, that myth among myths, that touchstone of a genre in quest of the absolute – and the direct descendant of the much earlier Choral Fantasy. Fortepianist Kristian Bezuidenhout, soloist in the Fantasy, has recorded all five Beethoven piano concertos with the FBO and imbues this seldom-heard score with freshness and spontaneity.

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