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Oh, what the heck. :) My ranking, as of today, and I'll even throw in my current favorite recordings of each (though those may change by this evening :D) ...

7 Abbado BPO
5 Karajan BPO 77
3 Klemperer Stereo
8 Szell Cleveland SO
4 Walter Columbia SO
6 Bohm VPO
9 Furtwangler 42
2 Bernstein NYPO
1 Gardiner

Gustav said:
My rank of my favorite BEethoven symphonies

1 Symphony #5
2 Symphony #3 Eroica
3 Symphony #9 choral
4 Symphony #6 pastroal
5 symphony #1
6 Symphony #7
7 symphony #2
8 symphony #4
9 symphony #8

What are your ranks?
 

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Such lists are of but ephemeral value, but I still have fun at them.

I'll say:

  1. Fourth
  2. Sixth
  3. Seventh
  4. Third
  5. Eighth
  6. Fifth
  7. Ninth
  8. Second
  9. First

Cheers,
~Karl
 

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Pete said:
Who in their right mind places the Ninth in the bottom three?

I suppose, someone in his right mind, who prefers six others? :)

Cheers,
~Karl
 

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Pete said:
Who in their right mind places the Ninth in the bottom three?
After having played Beethoven 9 for auditions and other things and listened to it be incrediably ruined by different orchestras or the different versions that have been arranged I can't help but be more than a bit sick of Beethoven 9, it's a great symphony; wonderfully written, great, expansive melodies and wide appeal but I'm sorry I can't make myself sit down and listen to it anymore.
 

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Yes, indeed! The Eroica is not my personal favorite, but that's just a matter of taste -- I'll certainly not argue against its greatness. The Funeral March is one of the most moving pieces in all of Beethoven, IMO.

As to the 9th, in a way it's like truffles or caviar -- it's too rich to eat every day. I love it, but compared to the others I seldom listen to it. For me it's music that requires an occasion, and one's complete attention -- I can drive in my car or write a post on a classical music forum while listening to the 4th or the 5th; not so the 9th. And while the greatest performances of the 9th can literally move Heaven and earth, I've heard quite a few mediocre ones that leave me less than inspired. For me, the 9th seems to be more subject to bad interpretation than Beethoven's others -- it's easy for the finale to sound either portentious and bloated or underpowered and scraggly; and the rhythms, in the 2nd movt particularly, are tricky to get right. But have no doubts as to my sanity, it's a great work. :)
 

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I'm a new member.I'm a high school student.I've just been in US for 4 month since moved from China,so my English is really poor.But anyway,best greetings to everyone.
My list:
9th(Furtwangler1951 Bayreuth)
5th(Kleiber)
6th(Walter)
3rd(Klemperer)
7th(Kleiber)
8th(Abbado,video,since I don't have any other recordings)
4th(Abbado,same as above)
2nd(same as above)
1st(Gardiner)
 

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1. Symphony no. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 'Fate'
2. Symphony no. 9 in D minor, Op. 125 'Choral'
3. Symphony no. 3 in E flat major 'Eroica'
4. Symphony no. 6 in F major, Op. 68 'Pastoral'
5. Symphony no. 7 in A major, Op. 92
6. Symphony no. 4 in B flat major
7. Symphony no. 8 in F major, Op. 93
8. Symphony no. 2 in D major, Op. 36
9. Symphony no. 1 in C major, Op. 21

That's how i'd order the Beethoven symphonies, i've always felt that the first two, whilst perfectly good music, have always been the weakest of his Symphonies, since then he had yet to find his muse and was mostly emulating Mozart and Haydn. The heroism, trajedy and sheer power of Beethoven's symphonies had yet to develop in those early works.
 

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My favourite is Eroica, with the next "tier" being the 5th and 9th.

I find it just a little bit naive (for myself) to rank all of them in some kind of comprehensive running order.

A little anecdote about the merits of the 3rd.

To save money on rehearsal time, my orchestra (in Marienbad, a spa-town in CZ) basically plays 2 programs all summer, alternating them weekly (with some occasional variations). 2 summers ago, one of our programs featured Eroica as the main work. I was a little concerned at the beginning of the run what this would "do" to the orchestra, we had 6 performances of it planned over 14 weeks. Would the performances become boring, run-of-the-mill, uninspired? The contrary was true. This is a great piece for an orchestra to repeat. Each performance was better and better, not just technically, but spiritually as well.
 

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This seems to be the place for newcomers to set out their views. I've just looked back at previous posts. What a lot of variety. Given that there are over a third of a million ways to permutate the 9, I guess it's not suprising. Anyway here's my list:

  1. 9th (Wilhelm Furtwangler 1951 Bayreuth)
  2. 5th (Carlos Kleiber)
  3. 6th (Karl Bohm)
  4. 3rd (Otto Klemperer)
  5. 7th (Carlos Kleiber)
  6. 8th (Nicholas Harnoncourt)
  7. 1st (Simon Rattle)
  8. 4th (Bruno Walter)
  9. 2nd (Otto Klemperer)
Anyone who hasn't heard the performances of Furtwangler (S 9) and Kleiber (S 5) is missing something. They are something special. I think the best word is "uplifting". Try them. I think you'll agree. Furtwangler seems to get a unique sound into S 9 that's difficult to describe. It makes most others seem pretty weak and uninspired in comparison, although HVK 1977 is pretty good. As for Kleiber's rendition of S 5, I reckon that technically it's the best CD in my whole collection. Brilliant.

Topaz
 
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