In the segment Zander spoke about how, in his opinion, The Ninth has been misinterpreted by many. Too slow.
I think there is always some interpretation involved, and that's usually what the conductor does (it's his job description so to speak). Many pieces come in slightly slower or faster recorded versions. Also some conductors, like other artists, come with large egos ("knowing" supposedly how it was really intended).
Although Beethoven included clear tempo marks in the symphony, Mr Zander claims they were never intended to be taken literally.
That sounds like someone interpreting scripture.
On the other hand:
Commenting on the blog, the Dutch composer John Borstlap said this disability may have led him to score the piece too slowly.
“We know that Beethoven was deaf and composers often imagine their music faster in the lightweight space of their mind than they would assess in reality, where the sound is influenced by many physical factors,” he said.
However classical music commentator Norman Lebrecht told The Telegraph that it was a shame to speed up the work.
“One of the best things about Beethoven’s Ninth is that no performance ever feels too long. So making it go faster seems to me a cause for regret,” he said
Location: Half inch above the K/T boundary Gender:
May 20, 2018 - 8:09pm
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9 (Proms 2012)...
CBC's “As It Happens”, very recently featured an interview with conductor Benjamin Zander who was on to comment on a new rendition of Beethoven’s Ninth which he recorded with the Boston Philharmonic along with The Philharmonia Chorus and Chorale (London). It is being released in July.
In the segment Zander spoke about how, in his opinion, The Ninth has been misinterpreted by many. Too slow. Zander used the word “ferocious” to describe how Beethoven intended the piece to be, and played at a much quicker tempo than previously done (by himself as well). The new rendition was noticeably quicker—Three clips were played, including “Ode to Joy”. I am a modestly informed and experienced classical music listener but I could easily appreciate the difference. Zander said his rendition is 58 minutes vs. typical ~70+ minutes in many other performances. “Ode to Joy” was very, very impressive.
Fun (new to me) fact: The metronome was invented and used during the later period of Beethoven’s career. He used it to be very specific about how he wished the tempi of his work to be played (Ninth, of course). For a mix of reasons, according to Zander, these directives have seldom been followed for The Ninth.
Edit: The new release features a 160 minute discussion wherein Zander explains and defends this new work. During the radio spot he said he had been thinking for decades of a reinterpretation of The Ninth, and now near 80 y.o., he felt very rewarded by having this new rendition performed and recorded.
I hope other RP'ers more familiar with Zander and this project than I am will also comment.