Erich Kleiber's legendary stance in Beethoven's music is confirmed in these splendidly refurbished tapes of the 2nd and Pastoral symphonies. In a way this reissue is perfectly complementary to Decca's recent release featuring Kleiber's legendary Concertgebouw Orchestra recordings of the Third and Fifth symphonies.
The 'Pastoral' is miraculously done, here benefiting from Decca's ffrr sound that reveals the LPO's excellent playing throughout, but especially in the 'Scene by the brook'. The 'Storm' and 'Peasant's Song' is also miraculously portrayed, this is Beethoven playing of the highest order and in the hands of such a master, it is indeed an exalted interpretation and very good to have on budget price.
The Second symphony goes back to 1929 but Mike Dutton has worked miracles in refurbishing the sound to excellent frequencies. It is a fiery reading, rather in the mould of Karajan and Toscanini and shows Kleiber's obvious affinity for the charming work.
The Berlin Opera Orchestra play with corporate brilliance and the whole is a fine performance indeed. Reproductions from a 1948 review in the booklet add to the authenticity of this release, which should be in every historical connoisseur's collection.
Copyright © 2002, Gerald Fenech