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Classical Music Review

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Reimagining Beethoven's Symphony 9


Composer: Ludwig Van Beethoven
Performed by: Eliane Rodrigues and Nina Smeets
Label: Navona Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 November 2021

Inspired by a transcription by composer Franz Liszt, Götterfunken employs the duality of two grand pianos to reimagine and reinterpret Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. As mother and daughter, pianists Eliane Rodrigues and Nina Smeets infuse their own personal flair with Rodrigues’s arrangement, following the path Beethoven paved while connecting his work to the present day with small instances of improvisation throughout that reflect his original stylistic preferences...

I've lost count of the number of versions of Beethoven's ninth symphony I own. While they all have subtle differences, usually because the mixes focus on different parts of the orchestra allowing the listener to hear things that on other recordings were nestled in the background, Götterfunken takes the music we know and love and puts a new spin on it.

Eliane Rodrigues and Nina Smeets duel it out on two pianos. The duo perform a beautiful dance where at times they are at odds with one another (while still complimenting each other) and at other moments they come together to sound like a single instrument. But it's obvious that the two artists work well together and have a true love and passion for the original.

If you love and respect the source material, you'll truly get a kick out of Götterfunken. It's like falling in love with the original all over again.


Darren Rea