• Alexander's Playlist: Beethoven: 9 Symphonies

    By Alexander Neef

    General Director Alexander Neef shares his favourite music recordings in this series of weekly recommendations.

    Beethoven: 9 Symphonies
    Berlin Classics, 1975
    Herbert Blomstedt
    Staatskapelle Dresden


    With so much arts and culture programming disrupted by COVID-19, one milestone I find especially disappointing to not be marking in person is the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth. That’s why this week’s recommendation highlights work from this amazing composer.

    Beethoven’s legacy as an artist is extraordinary, and music today continues to be influenced by his creative range and innovation. The impact of Beethoven’s contributions to music are at once ground-breaking and canonical, and his symphonies give us something that build on traditions of the past while reimagining the possibilities of form.

    The quest for the perfect interpretation of Beethoven symphonies is endless, but one I keep returning to is the set recorded by Staatskapelle Dresden under conductor Herbert Blomstedt in the late '70s.

    There are certainly more famous Beethoven cycles, but I find myself savouring the sheer excellence of this orchestra, particularly their emotional nuance and the effortless fluency of their interpretation. The Dresden Orchestra has a long history; they have played on through immense political changes, and their well-earned reputation for excellence continued under communism in East Germany, where these recordings were made.

    ––Alexander Neef



    Music credit: Beethoven: 9 Symphonies. Herbert Blomstedt, conductor with the Staatskapelle Dresden. Berlin Classics, 1975

    Posted in Alexander's Playlist

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