Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 - Bernstein

Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9 - Bernstein

Deutsche Grammophon  4797708


Classical - Orchestral

Beethoven: Symphonies 1 - 9

Gwyneth Jones (soprano)
Hanna Schwarz (alto)
René Kollo (tenor)
Kurt Moll (bass)
Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor
Wiener Philharmoniker
Leonard Bernstein (conductor)

As a prelude to the centenary-year celebrations, November 2017 will see the release of perhaps the most famous Bernstein recordings of all: the nine Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic. Not only artistic and musical benchmarks, they also established new technical standards through their use of quadraphonic sound. These legendary performances from 1977/78 can now once again be enjoyed, both on 5 CDs and on a Blu-ray Audio disc on which they are presented for the first time in surround sound.

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6 of 7 recommend this, would you recommend it?  yes | no

Analogue recording
Resolutions (2)
  • 2.0 DTS HD MA 24bit/96kHz
  • 5.0 DTS HD MA 24bit/96kHz
Comments (6)

Comment by John Broggio - March 17, 2018 (1 of 6)

The following YouTube video's are instructive of the process of restoring and enhancing the reach of the original recordings:

Comment by Gilbert Burnett - March 27, 2018 (2 of 6)

John, Thank you for sharing that - quite the most interesting thing I have heard in a while. It also blows my theory about Universal issuing some of their quad recordings themselves. It is clear these were not quad originals. I have this set and will listen again with renewed interest. The sound is far better than the original CD releases. It still baffles me that Universal gave up on SACD and still don't seem willing to release new material in hires disc. Yet they will pay Polyhymnia to re-process older tapes.

Comment by Nick - April 1, 2018 (3 of 6)

Mmm this is what the release notes are on a certain British CD selling website for this:
9 Symphonies

Leonard Bernstein & Wiener Philharmoniker

• Quadraphonic audio was the earliest consumer product recorded and presented in surround sound. Deutsche Grammophon was one of a few labels who, in the 1970s, decided to embrace Quadrophonic recording

• Though quadrophonic releases were a commercial failure at the time they were issued – largely due to the high production costs and the costs of the playback equipment – present-day technology allows us to return to the original tapes and use the Blu-ray Audio format to present these recordings in high definition surround mixes.

• The remastering and remixing has been done in 24 bit / 192 kHz in 5.0 surround by Polyhymnia in the Netherlands."

The youtube vidoes are fascinating, but Everett Porter clearly states these were 2 channel recordings (as does the DG website). The mention of quadrophonic is misleading.
At one stage didn't he also talk about adding Concertgebouw reverb, why not Musikverien?

Comment by Contrapunctus - May 14, 2018 (4 of 6)

I'm not very intrigued with this new set - except the 9th symphony. In comparison with the SHM-SACD releases from 2015 (DSD-remastering Emil Berliner Studios) the new Polyhymnia-remastering appears a bit cloudy/diffus to me because Polyhymnia added some extra reverberation. Especially strings are a bit reluctant compared to the EBS-remastering.

Apparently the focus was taken on the remastering of the 9th symphony. The soundstage and clarity (soloists in the finale!) are way more present than on the EBS-remastering (SHM-SACD). Actually, I can't really recommend the SHM-SACD of the 9th symphony. (Only 2ch-stereo)

Comment by Contrapunctus - September 8, 2019 (5 of 6)

Edit to my above comment: the earlier judgement based on my old cd-player (Marantz SA-15 S2). Now, I've been a happy owner of a Marantz SA-10 for a few days. Result: the obove mentioned SHM-SACD with EBS-remastering of the 9th symphony sounds fantastic now and it's in my opinion the preferable version of this recording.

It's a bit frustrating to see, that all our impressions (and comments) about sound quality are so deeply influenced by the used equipment.

Comment by Joseph Ponessa - September 13, 2019 (6 of 6)

I have this Ninth on vinyl, laserdisc, DVD, the multichannel SACD, the stereo SHM-SACD and this blu-ray. My turntable is on the fritz currently, so I can't compare that, but I remember it being very well indeed. The laserdisc has two audio tracks, analog and digital. I have always preferred the analog tracks on the laserdisc. I have tried and hated and disposed of the RBCDs. The DVD has the benefit of the video introductions that Bernstein gave when the cycle was televised.
To me, the laserdisc trumps all the later releases. Either the original tapes were in better shape when the laserdisc was made, or the later releases have been reprocessing the inadequate CD master.
Be that as it may, the audio release is derived from the same performances as the video. Rather than an audio-only blu-ray, it would be lovely to have the video performances on blu-ray. If they just ported the audio from the laserdisc onto any other medium, it would be marvelous.
Meanwhile, I can enjoy playing the analog tracks of the laserdisc to my heart's content, as long as the players keep working. There is no use chasing rainbows when you are already sitting on the pot of gold.


1xBlu-ray & 5xCD