Definitive Beethoven's 9th recording

What is the best performance of this legendary composition?
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Not to disappoint you but there is no universally acclaimed definitive performance, or recording for that matter, of this symphony. Everyone has their own favorite. For what its worth, i prefer Harnoncourts HIP on Teldec. As an alternative I enjoy Wand on EMI and Von Karjian '63 version.
The best performance on a recording? Hard to say. Try Karajan (1977 as well as the '63), '89 Bernstein, '87 Solti, '51 Furtwangler, or Klemperer if your looking for performance without the sonic gymnastics. Newbee is right - there is no one definitive performance. Other than the premier in 1820-something.
Bruno Walter/Columbia. Tweekerman
Really hard to say...

Bernstein, Christmas 1989
Bernstein, Vienna Philharmonic
Hogwood, Academy Ancient Music
Colin Davis, Bavarian Radio Symphony
Von Karajan, Berlin Philharmonic
Fricsay, Berlin Philharmonic
Jochum, Concertgebouw
Ozawa, New Philharmonic
Schmidt-Isserstedt, Vienna Philharmonic
Solti, Chicago Symphony
Stokowski, London Symphony
Szell, Cleveland Orchestra
Toscanini, NBC Symphony
Try Furtwangler's Bayreut recording from the early '50s. (Note however, that the orchestra is below stage level @ Bayreut, so it sounds as if it's playing on the floor!)
There's also a 1936 recording of Furtwangler/Berliner which, IMO is even better (as far as one can hear it).
Finally, I heard (but do not have) an E. Kleiber/Berliner(?) recording that impressed me...
Karajan/Berlin Philharmonic on Duetsche Grammophon late 70s version, without question.
I also stay for Karajan and Bernstein IF you can't get
Moscow Radio Symphony orchestra with Svetlanov IF you're able to get it. Unfortunately I did not keep track on solo male vocals.
I consider this piece one of my favourites.
Just curious, for those that voted for other recordings, have any of you heard the Walter/Columbia recording? In a comparison with your favorite?
Listened to it on LP years ago - i liked his 6th much more. Kept the 6th. I haven't compared his 9th to my current favorites - knowing what i do about Walters during those columbia years i can't imagine they would sound much like Harnoncourt's. I enjoyed his Bruckner 9th, all of his Brahms, his Dvorak 7&8, and his Mozart.....all nice warmhearted performances & recordings. Even the CD's arn't bad.
The Harnoncourt complete set is a definite winner. One 9th that I would like to hear on original instruments is Bruggen with the Orchestra of the 18th century.
My favorites:
Furtwangler's last live recording with the Philharmonia (1954)at Lucerne Festival available on Music and Arts. Incredible tension in finale and Adagio movement is sublime.
Also Charles Munch and Boston Symphony (late 1950's) and Szell/Cleveland (1960's). Both well paced and beautifully balanced.