BEETHOVEN Symphonies Nos. 5 + 7 / Kleiber 4474002
The recording of the Fifth comes up superbly in the new transfer. What, though, of the Seventh Symphony, an equally distinguished performance though always perceptibly greyer-sounding on LP, and on CD? Well, it too is superb. What the Original-Image Bit-Processing has done to it, I wouldn't begin to know, but the result is a performance of genius that now speaks to us freely and openly for the first time. In some ways this is a more important document than the famous Fifth. Great recordings of the Seventh, greatly played and greatly conducted, but with first and second violins divided left and right, are as rare as gold-dust. Freshly refurbished, this Kleiber Seventh would go right to the top of my short list of recommendable Sevenths. It is wonderful to have these two legendary performances so expertly restored and placed together on one disc for the first time.
Kleiber's superlatively played readings are unbeatable. If you own just one Beethoven disc, this should be it.
Mercurial, thrilling accounts of two warhorses from the unique Carlos Kleiber.
. . . the pairing of Kleiber's interpretations of these two masterpieces on one recording has become an essential recommendation for any collection. These are performances which seem to present a Beethoven "for the ages", a distillation of a long interpretative tradition . . . The sense of something monumental is enhanced by the imposing Vienna Musikverein acoustic. But that doesn't blur Kleiber's superfine attention to detail, with perfectly balanced textures and subtly graded transitions . . . And the 1970s Vienna Philharmonic was a band of an equally detailed response . . . The Fifth Symphony moves in an unerring line from its famous opening, crackling with excitement, to its celebratory ending. And the Seventh, with all its repeated rhythmic units, generates so much momentum that the thrilling acceleration Kleiber whips up in the final bars almost seems the only possible outcome.
A 1995 release testifying to the formidable power Kleiber could generate, coupled with pinpoint-accurate dynamics and texture.
Julie Depardieu: "Voilà une interprétation qui éteint toutes les autres. Il n'y a personne au-dessus de Kleiber dans mon panthéon . . . Kleiber a su concilier la prouesse technique avec un inventivité, une expression et une fantaisie de tous les instants . . . "