Kubelik was variable in Beethoven, but here he's great
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/21/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The fact that this excellent live Beethoven recording from Kubelik has gone without a single review in two years demonstrates how little he is remembered in America. However, Kubelik's reputation in Europe remains high, and his long tenure with the Bavarian Radio Sym. Orch. is especially esteemed -- hence the two dozen live recordings issued by Audite, including a nearly complete Mahler cycle that in mnay ways excels what Kubelik achieved in the studio for DG.
He wasn't an acclaimed Beethoven conductor, however, and his CD legacy with the nine symphonies is hit or miss. There's a great Missa Solemnis on Orfeo, and to it we can add these readings of Sym. #2 and #6. Both are imbued with Kubelik's brio and zest, his alert energy and spontenous freedom. I've been raving about the live Beethoven recordings from Klaus Tennstedt on BBC Legends, but in their very different way, Kubelik's are just as impressive.
Of the two, the Second is more lively and exhilarating, but that's not to shortchange the Pastorale, which is joyous even at fairly relaxed tempos. As with Monteux on Decca and Giulini on EMI, here we have traditional big-bnad Beethoven but expresssed with refreshing vitality, quite the opposite of Klemperer's stalwart studio version of the Pastorale, at least to my ears. Orchestral playing is committed and never glib; Bavarian Radio gives us good concert stereo, if a bit muffled. Highly recommended"