Beethoven wrote some of the most famous “first few notes” in the history of music. The beginning of the first and second movements are definitely among those. But that’s not why I’m posting this. You already know all of this.
I’m posting this because of Maestro Paavo Järvi and the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen. Järvi is famously devoted to Beethoven’s original tempo markings, which are quite faster than how modern conductors usually take his works. Such speed with a two-bit orchestra would make this music sound sloppy and muddy. But the DKB produces razor-sharp, gloriously precise phrasing.
If you want to enjoy this properly, make this video full screen and watch the orchestra. The entire collective is at the top of their game. They are throwing everything they have into the notes. The cellist at 0:28. The violinist at 0:39. Järvi himself from 1:28-:136. They are an army of music, and it is glorious. Because here’s the thing: the 9th is standard orchestra fare. These people have played this hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of times before. But in this recording, in this video, it’s like they’ve just been rehearsing their whole lives. This is their first real performance. It’s one of the most exhilarating things I’ve seen in ages.