WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Beethoven: Symphonies 3 & 5 / E. Kleiber, Concertgebouw

Release Date: 11/14/2000 
Label:  London/Decca Legends Catalog #: 467125   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Erich Kleiber's 1950 "Eroica" still belongs among the elite handful of great recordings of this perennial favorite, this despite ensemble that isn't quite immaculate in the first movement (a very minor point), a pair of really shrill oboes, and the somewhat bass-shy, airless recording (which yet preserves remarkable transparency and dynamic range for its era, especially in this latest transfer). There are insights here that you simply won't find anywhere else, mostly in the first two movements. Take, for example, the extra "oomph" with which Kleiber launches the first movement recapitulation, or his swift, merciless, indeed desperate account of the Funeral March, possibly the most harrowing vision of this music ever Read more captured on disc. Listen also to the way in which Kleiber's insistence that the violins hold full note values in the work's closing bars keeps the music from sounding clipped and silly, as it does in so many "authentic" performances. While it's true that various similar conceptions of this symphony from the "discipline and clarity" school of conducting have been issued since, some of them extraordinarily good (Toscanini's last, Szell, and Wand, for example), Kleiber's remains a very special, powerfully satisfying vision.

The same holds true of his performance of the Fifth. Recorded only three years later, the improvements in sound, both of the Concertgebouw Orchestra itself and in the recording process (a real sense of acoustic space and far more natural balances), lend an extra measure of distinction to what every sane person agrees is one of the great recordings of this symphony. What distinguishes Kleiber from just about everyone else (even his son Carlos) is the exceptional tension and discipline he brings to the first movement, married to a moderately paced finale of Klemperer-like nobility and grandeur. Only Giulini, in his fine DG recording of this symphony with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, attempted something similar, but he doesn't share Kleiber's bracing view of the Andante con moto second movement, nor does his transition from the scherzo to the finale register with the earlier version's effortless inevitability. If you haven't heard these truly epochal Beethoven performances, you simply must, and at this price point, excellently remastered, you've no excuse for hesitation.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

Symphony no 3 in E flat major, Op. 55 "Eroica" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1803; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 05/1950 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 46 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Conductor:  Erich Kleiber
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1807-1808; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 09/1953 
Venue:  Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Length: 27 Minutes 18 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title