Reviews: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 4 & 5 - Kubelik
|Site review by akiralx July 9, 2007
|An excellent SACD, if not quite as revelatory as the companion disc of the Pastoral Symphony from Paris, but much better filled of course.
This one completes the middle trilogy from Kubelik's multi-orchestra Beethoven cycle for DG in the 1970s.
If you want to assemble the whole cycle (on CD only of course) you'll have to buy symphonies 1-3 in the Kubelik Rare Recordings DG Original Masters box, and you can obtain the remainder on 2 DG Doubles (symphonies 4-6 and 7-9).
The Israel PO Fourth was recorded (fortunately) in Munich's Herkulessaal rather than the rather dry Mann Auditorium in Tel Aviv, the orchestra's home. This means the sound (stereo only) is truly first rate, with a wide soundstage and plenty of depth.
The performance too is very satisfying, with Kubelik's fine ear for balance bringing out many woodwind lines. Among many great Fourths (one, from Karajan's 1961 cycle, is also on SACD) this one rates highly.
The Boston Fifth is also very enjoyable, well recorded in Symphony Hall, with good balances and timpani vividly present. The performance is imposing, slightly austere, without perhaps a little of the flair and electric charge that Carlos Kleiber imparted in his famous recording. I enjoyed Kubelik's reading very much, powerfully conveyed without bombast.