Nicolai Malko is one of those conductors who is vaguely remembered and has not dated too well but in his day, he was a much sought after artist as investigation into this splendid Beethoven disc clearly demonstrates. These recordings date from 1955 and although the sound is rather boxy, the interpretative vigour certainly shines through.
The evergreen "Leonora #3" moves along at quite a blistering pace with the concluding section particular exciting and full of forward thrust and great momentum. In the "Choral", Malko has an expert team of singers who perform out of their skin in the famous Finale but not before the three orchestral only movements have laid an impressive backbone particularly in the opening movement which is full of angst and incredible tension.
Collectors will obviously have myriads of Ninths on their shelves and stacked away in drawers (I myself have over a 100 and still counting) but this should not be the reason to dismiss this version by Malko which can offer a distinctly new perspective on the way this symphony is viewed. Notes are nothing more than adequate but the package is worth recommending for the lively playing.
Copyright © 2009, Gerald Fenech