Carlos Kleiber was perhaps the most highly regarded conductor of the late 20th century, but his relatively few excursions into the studio have left the musical world with a frustratingly small number of recordings. Thus we are particularly fortunate that, from among the relatively few appearances in his career, several concerts, one operetta and two operas were filmed. This concert with the Bayerisches Staatsorchester from Munich's Herkulessaal in October 1996 was on of his last.
This release in Praga's Reminiscences series of SACD remasterings features the great Russian conductor Yevgeny Mravinsky leading the Leningrad Philharmonic in recordings of two masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire. Brahms's refined and intellectually complex Symphony No.4 is paired with the rich, heart-on-sleeve passion of Tchaikovsky's Symphony No.5 – one of the composer's best loved works.
Editorial Reviews- Amazon.com
Noted podium tyrant and sadist Fritz Reiner must have scared the daylights out of the Royal Philharmonic, which plays this music as though their very lives depended on it. This is one of the great Brahms Fourth Symphonies, a performance of eruptive force and barely contained fury. It's been superbly transferred to CD, and anyone who loves this symphony simply has to own this recording. No question about it. –David Hurwitz
Carlos Kleiber was perhaps the most highly regarded conductor of the late 20th century, but his relatively few excursions into the studio have left the musical world with a frustratingly small number of recordings. Thus we are particularly fortunate that, from among the relatively few appearances in his career, several concerts, one operetta and two operas were filmed.
EMI brought out the Brahms Symphony in its Great Conductors of the Twentieth Century series where it joined some other famous Scherchen discs – notably Beethoven’s Eighth Symphony, Haydn’s No. 100 in G and Stravinsky’s Firebird review. Scherchen’s live recording of the Kalinnikov with the Czech Philharmonic has formed part of Tahra’s Scherchen sets. So neither of these performances constitutes terra incognita for admirers of this conductor, who will know, only too well, that when Archipel claim that these 24 bit 96 kHz (whatever that is) restorations derive "from the original sources" the truth is nothing of the kind.
Leopold Stokowski had a particular love for Falla's El Amor Brujo. In Oliver Daniel's biography of Stokowski (A Counterpoint of View), soprano Rose Bampton spoke of Stokowski working with her in preparation for a Philadelphia Orchestra concert, telling her the plot in such a "hair-raising" manner that she was left "white and shocked." Stokowski also selected El Amor Brujo for his return to the Philadelphia Orchestra after a 19 year hiatus in January 1959.
…got this for the Brahms, which is at best a thoroughly decent performance, nothing more - but the highlight is the excellent Beethoven. The ratings reflect the dichotomy of the two performances and their sonics, an average of 4 for sound seems fair - but the Beethoven warrants a 5 for performance.
This last installment in Claudio Abbado's fine Brahms cycle has the same virtues as the previous recordings: excellent playing, fine recording, and an intensely lyrical response to the music that never precludes a healthy dose of energy where required. The high point of the cycle is the Third Symphony, followed by the Second. If you have those and wish to collect the others, they are not far behind in quality and you can buy this disc (and the one with the First Symphony) with complete confidence. The couplings are also very well done. –David Hurwitz