BEETHOVEN Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 • Carlos Kleiber, cond; Vienna PO • DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4791106 (Blu-ray audio: 85:54)
Carlos Kleiber’s interpretation ofRead more Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony is considered by many people (myself included) to be the greatest Beethoven performance of at least the last half century. Kleiber’s Beethoven Seventh is also very good, but not quite in the class of his Fifth, probably because the “apotheosis of the dance” does not tolerate Kleiber’s extreme dynamics as well as the Fifth does. In short, Kleiber is equally exciting in the Seventh, but he drives the music a little too hard.
Deutsche Grammophon’s sound for Kleiber’s Fifth was surprisingly good on the original LP. Fine inner detail and instrumental texture were excellent, especially for Deutsche Grammophon, and there was even some credible spatial information. Standard CD improved the dynamics and inner detail at the cost of some harshness in the higher frequencies. SACD softened the highs and improved hall sound. Now, this Blu-ray audio disc takes the already excellent recording to near demonstration level. The buzz of the strings (the opening) and brass is improved, but there is practically no harshness or glare in the high frequencies. Spatial cues are at least equal to the SACD and focal instrumental imaging is better. Finally, I always had the impression that the sound in the fourth movement was more congested than the first movement, especially on the LP. Much of this was attributed to inner groove distortion, but it persisted to a certain extent on the CD. It is largely eliminated for the first time on this Blu-ray audio disc. The sound of the Seventh is qualitatively similar but perhaps not quite as good as the Fifth. These differences are admittedly subtle, but they are the kind of things that are critically important to audiophiles who love music.
I cannot imagine any serious music lover or audiophile with the capacity to play Blu-ray audio discs not having this recording. One of the great recorded performances of the century has finally received full sonic justice.
Symphony no 5 in C minor, Op. 67by Ludwig van Beethoven Conductor:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1807 Date of Recording: 1974 Venue: Musikverein, Vienna, Austria Length: 33 Minutes 22 Secs.
Symphony no 7 in A major, Op. 92by Ludwig van Beethoven Conductor:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical Written: 1811-1812; Vienna, Austria Venue: Musikverein, Vienna, Austria Length: 38 Minutes 36 Secs.
Average Customer Review: ( 3 Customer Reviews )
A Legendary Recording ImprovedJanuary 5, 2016By owen r. (lakewood, CA)See All My Reviews"To my comments on the CD of this great performance let me add this further quote from BBC Music: ''This Carlos Kleiber performance has a compelling intensity and electric energy.'' This Blu Ray issue brings out the compelling and highly charged nature of this recording and goes a long way to dispel my negativity to the original audio. If you've got the equipment and ears to discern the improved audio, this disc is worth the extra $ and is highly recommended."Report Abuse
Simply the BestNovember 24, 2014By K. BAKER (HEBER CITY, UT)See All My Reviews"This is the best recording of any symphonies ever made. Although the consensus is that the 5th is the star, I find the 7th more satisfying, making it the best recorded symphony of all time. Carlos Kleiber was the most eccentric conductor of all time. He conducted only 94 concerts in his entire career (excluding operas). L Bernstein, by comparison, conduced 116 concerts in his first year with the NY Philharmonic, but when the BBC polled the world's top 100 conductors and asked them who was the greatest conductor of all time, Kleiber was # 1, Bernstein # 2. Listen to this, and you will know why."Report Abuse
Beethoven: Symphonies #5 & 7/Kleiber, Vienna PhilJuly 6, 2014By Lawrence H. (Cincinnati, OH)See All My Reviews"I will just say the sound is very very good, but since no chain is stronger than its weakest link, a lot depends on your system and its components. If I try to describe how something sounds, I think it would be like me trying to describe a color. I don't think I can effectively do that. But in any event on my system I think LPs, CDs, SACDs (DSD), LDs, DVDs, and Blu-ray discs sound very very good, but to me Laser Discs look the worst on Hi-Def TVs, even when up-converted."Report Abuse