Beethoven’s 9th Symphony is a wonderful new iPad app celebrating this famous and loved piece of music. I’ve never been a big fan of classical music but something about the look of this app grabbed me and I decided to give it a look.
Wow, I am so glad I did. This is just a fantastic app, even for someone like me who’s not knowledgeable about the music. Here’s a bit of the App Store intro for it:
Beethoven’s 9th Symphony for iPad presents four of Deutsche Grammophon’s legendary recordings of this iconic work, with the amazing ability to switch instantly between each performance at any point in the piece. As you listen, you can watch the synchronized musical score, be guided by expert commentary, follow Beethoven’s 1825 manuscript or immerse yourself in the hypnotic graphical BeatMap of the orchestra, precisely highlighting every note. The app also includes a treasure-trove of specially filmed video interviews with musicians, writers and great conductors discussing Beethoven and his masterwork.
Here’s some of the app’s features that I’ve found gripping:
— The music itself of course. The app offers four of the ‘legendary’ performances of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony – and you can switch between these as you listen with just a single tap.
Ferenc Fricsay’s first stereo recording of this work from 1958 with the Berliner Philharmoniker; Herbert von Karajan’s famous 1962 recording with the same orchestra; the widely loved and charismatic maestro Leonard Bernstein’s video recording from 1979 with the Wiener Philharmoniker; and the ground-breaking 1992 recording on period instruments conducted by John Eliot Gardiner.
— A ‘BeatMap’ overlay showing the involvement of all the instruments in the orchestra, that’s synchronized to all the perfromances.
— Superb real-time note-by-note commentary in a bottom bar on the screen.
— The superb ‘Insights’ section, with more than a dozen experts, including Leonard Bernstein, offering their thoughts on the 9th Symphony, and on Beethoven in general.
— The video of the Bernstein performance. I’ve never taken time to watch this sort of thing before and I’ve found it compelling viewing.The app supports AirPlay, so you can fire it up onto a big HDTV as well.
This is a free app, but with a very limited free version – which just includes two minutes from the second movement of the symphony with all features enabled. To get the full content you need to make an In-App purchase of $13.99. The app also requires iOS 6 or later.