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Reviews: Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 5 & 7 - Kleiber

Reviews: 8

Review by Rpower May 27, 2003 (3 of 4 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I had been wanting a recording of Kleiber/VPO's Beethoven Symphonies 5 & 7 for years and was happy to see them both on a single disc in recent months. I had contemplated getting the CD version when I found out this was available in MC SACD. I found it at Best Buy for $15.99, so I couldn't resist.

The sound of this recording is clearly not as good as current DSD recordings, but quite good for the 70s in which it was originally recorded. I feel that 24/96 remastering has clarified textures and dynamic peaks which gives a much better sonic experience than I would have gotten from CD.

For the last 10 years I have been living with the DG Von Karajan/BPO 1977 performance of the 7th symphony and his 1984 performance of the 5th symphony on CD and have always liked the 7th sonically and performance wise. The 5th in 80's digital sound is another matter and not as good. Kleiber's view of both of these symphonies is superior to Karajan's, with less drive and with more stress on lightness and musical detail. The VPO's performance of the two symphonies are magical and captivating in every way.

All in all, a wonderful disc and highly recommended.

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Review by Feanor July 20, 2003 (0 of 2 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
With regard to the performance, as I'm not a musically trained person I can only point out the these performances, particularly the 5th, have been highly acclaimed since the original vinyl edition was release around 1975. It is my favourite 5th for sure.

I have the original 5th on vinyl plus the 5th & 7th on the "Oringinal-image Bit Processing" CD, as well as the SACD release. Sonically, in my opinion, the SACD stereo version is much better than the CD, being more detailed, transparent, and spacious by far; (the original CD and SACD Red Book layer were indistinguishable from my brief listening). The SACD version also handily wips the vinyl too, though there are always vinylphile who will adhere to the medium no matter what. These comments pertain only to play back on my own system: check that if you like.

For those who care about such things, according to the SACD notes the master was PCM 24/96 master, not DSD.

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Review by FivePointOne September 22, 2003 (0 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
These are the best performances available for these two symphonies, period.

This is the best-sounding version of this particular CD. It is warmer than the redbook and has more definition.

Other performances may have newer engineering techniques, but I doubt they are performed as well. This performance is legendary for good reason. Why get some other recording when this one is available?

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Review by ssully October 9, 2003 (9 of 9 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I love this record, period. Having it in multichannel makes it all the more fun.
(I prefer the performance of the 5th to that of the 7th, though; for me, the definitive
7th is the one Bruno Walter recorded for Columbia.)


FYI regarding the credits for this album: I wrote to the Emil Berliner mastering studio for clarification of the rather confusing mixing/mastering/sourcing credits; I also did some online research of DG reissue philosophies. The upshot is that DG's policy now is to archive their stuff to hi-rez PCM, rather than to DSD (they did some listening tests and measurements and decided that was the way to go). The Kleiber 5/7 were newly remixed, this year, from the original analog multitracks, to stereo and to 5.0, in hi-rez PCM; these were then converted to DSD for the SACD release. The booklet also includes a mixing credit for the previoous release on CD, apparently for legal reasons; that's why there's two mixing credits.

Btw, the original recording session for the 5th was intended for 'quadraphonic' release, as indicated by the review in hifidelitynews.com and confirmed by EB studios.

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Review by Jim Stoneburner October 17, 2003 (3 of 11 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
I can't agree with others about the sonics. Both the CD and SACD layers of this release are inferior to the "The Originals" "Original-image bit-processing" CD in one respect: The first thing I noticed was that the tape hiss and hall sound is diminished, and there is a "pumping" effect with dynamic peaks that makes the hall seem dry, the dynamics seems shrink-wrapped and synthetic. Try the first couple minutes of track 7.

I suspect that a dynamic noise reduction algorithm was used on this release, which partly ruins the naturalness of the sound to my ears. There is also a gain difference, the newer release being far lower in gain (important to take into account when comparing).

Update: My wife and I both heard a problem with my system, which we just traced to residual Caig Pro Gold on the amplifier in, out, and power connections. Cleaning those revealed the good ol' sound we were used to from the living room system. (We independently assessed this problem, and independently used the word "syrupy" to describe the artifact. She is always a faster "tell" than I in assessing sound quality, be it at home, at shows, or in stores. No, this isn't why I married her, but its a nice bonus!

Testing the two CDs again, she preferred the newer one -- the CD layer of thisf SACD -- finding it less shrill, more rich. She still heard the noise pumping, and did find it drier, but she loves violin sound, and preferred this version. The SACD layer sounded richer still, and much preferred. She had no desire to go back to the oldler CD version.

I was less certain that I preferred the new CD layer over the old, but I must agree that the noise pumping issue is far reduced in importance from what I heard earlier today. The SACD layer now sounds best overall, with that one caviat.

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Review by thepilot September 5, 2004 (2 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:
This is the way to conduct Beethoven's masterpieces, Kleiber is truly the voice of Beethoven, and lets the symphonies breath and blossom. The sounb is much better than the original CD, not perfect but much, much improved.

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Review by Luukas May 23, 2014 (3 of 7 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:    
This is truly classic recording of Beethoven's Fifth and Seventh Symphonies. Carlos Kleiber conducts these familiar works thrillingly and Wiener Philharmonic's tone is rich and powerful. Fifth Symphony's word-famous fate theme sounds excellent, and fourth movement's triuphant coda is very fast and effectively. Seventh Symphony is also outstanding, and its dancing rhythms feels handsome in Deutsche Grammophon's multi-channel SACD. Superb recording, one of the greatest ever, maybe the greatest.

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Review by Pianist718 August 21, 2014 (2 of 3 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I really enjoyed this disk. Surround was very nice and the power of this performance is phenomenal. It gets loud when it needs to but nothing to start piercing your ears. Air instruments, and other instruments are nicely represented. A good SACD to own.

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