Beethoven – Symphony no 9 “Choral”

I’m a bit confused by this record. How can it fit the whole of the ninth symphony? Beethoven’s famous last symphony (the last part of which is the anthem of the European Union btw) is a long work.

When Sony and Philips collectively developed the CD so called red book standard at the end of the seventies, the chairman of Sony demanded that a disc should be able to contain Von Karajan’s recording of the ninth symphony, which was 74 minutes.

Or so I remember. I’m checking different performances now though, and I find it’s more probably the recording by Furtwängler in 1951. It was slower than Von Karajan’s by ten minutes.

This record is a little over an hour in length, according to Spotify. Nowadays many sound engineers would struggle to pull it off. At the height of record production, knowledge to do this well was not as scarce as it is today. But this record is from 1966!

It is important to realize that the louder sounds on a record are created by moving the needle more. The frequency decides the tone, the amount of movement the needle makes the loudness. This symphony is not silent, to say the least.

This master was an excuse the pun, masterwork of engineering.

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