Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is obviously one of the toughest nuts to crack but Yondani Butt's second release in his inestimable Beethoven cycle proves to be quite a revelation. The conductor adopts a brisk temp throughout and manages to dispatch the Adagio in just less than 17 minutes, quite a remarkable achievement on all counts and thus the movement flows along quite nicely.
Butt is also high on drama in the First movement similar to Erich Kleiber's landmark Decca version but he also finds great humanity in the Scherzo which remains one of my favourite Beethoven movements. The Finale is imbued with a sense of dramatic realism although no one to my mind at least surpasses Fritz Lehmann's great 1959 account on DG – an underrated version if ever there was one.
Nimbus provides substantial notes as well as texts and translations of the final movement so this new issue is also recommended as a library choice.
Copyright © 2011, Gerald Fenech