"Kubelik's credentials as a great Mahler conductor is a long established fact in Europe, and this newly issued seventh only adds to the burnish of his reputation. This recording stands with ease at the top of my pick for the seventh; Abravanel on Vanguard, Bernstein on Sony, Gielen on Intercord (and now Haenssler), Horenstein on BBC, and Zender on CPO are also fine examples. Kubelik was the second conductor after Bernstein (another great Mahlerian) to record the Mahler cycle (on DGG), was however the first to record the canon with one orchestra, the Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (BRSO) featured here.While both Kubelik's live M7 on Audite and the studio M7 on DGG are both well thought-out, flowing interpretations of Mahler's 'craziest' symphony, the former, i.e. this recording, contains the brighter spark of spontaneity that so often speaks for live recordings, despite the obvious drawback in recording sound and technical imperfection. The sound of this recording is very good, not unexpected as the recording took place in the Herkulessaal at the old Residenz in Munich, and the playing of BRSO is excellent.Proponents of Bernstein's more extrovert style in Mahler, who think Kubelik's DGG set too tame for them, seriously consider listening to this M7 and other Kubelik's live Mahlers on Audite. It is an Mahlerian experience not to be missed. The other Audite discs I strongly recommend are Kubelik's M1 and M3, which are IMO simply magnificent.Kudos to Audite for bringing back Kubelik's live Mahlers to this appreciative Mahlerian!"
A magnificient interpretation
L. Johan Modée | Earth | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Rafael Kubelik is one of the great Mahler interpreters, and the seventh symphony has always had a special place in his career. In the earlier Kubelik Mahler cycle on DG, with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the account of the seventh symphony is one of the gems. Here we have the same constellation in a live performance, from February 5, 1976. Together with the interpretations of Horenstein (Music & Arts) and Kondrashin (Tahra), I hold this to be the best Mahler no. 7 that is available at present. As is the case with these interpretations, the occasion of a live performance adds extra sparkles to the music, a passion and a drive that might be lost in the studio. Just listen to the superb balance between tragedy and passion that Kubelik achieves in the first movement. Or consider the nervous edge in the scherzo.
As usual, the woodwinds and brass are the shining stars of the orchestra. The recording quality may not be among the very best in the Audite Kubelik Mahler cycle, however. The balance isn't perfect, even if the recording sounds natural and fresh. But don't let this prevent you from grabbing a copy of this magnificient interpretation, while it is available. It is the first choice for me, and I recommend it warmly."
Sparks fly in concert, but don't expect virtuosity
Santa Fe Listener | Santa Fe, NM USA | 08/21/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because Mahler was himself a great conductor and headed the Vienna Phil., an orchestra without parallel in his day, I have always assumed that he meant for his music to be played by virtuosos. Differing from the reviewers above, I don't favor versions of the Mahler Seventh by Horenstein, Abravanel, and Scherchen because the ensembles are rough and ragged, and the quality of musicianship nowhere near the top. In the case of Kubelik, his Bavarian Radio Sym. Orch. is capable of executing the score, but not always comfortably. The virtues of this performance must come elsewhere.
As they certainly do -- here is a lively concert reading with edge and spontaneity. The Scherzo dances infectiously, and the two Nachtmusiks emerge as fresh and cheerful, something you never hear (did Mahler intend for the night to be so brightly lit?) Kubelik's way with Mahler is at an opposite extreme from the ponderous, calculated "importance" we get from Barenboim. As in his studio Mahler cycle on DG, he favors quick tempi, and once he gets the line moving, he pays less than perfect attention to Mahler's many expressive details -- momentum counts more than scrupulous fidelity. Which is fine with me. I miss the extraordinary combinaiton of accuracy and passion one gets from Bernstein, Abbado, and Levine in their Sevenths, but Kubelik doesn't fail to keep me on the edge of my seat.
In a nutshell, this is a quicksilver interpretation full of spontaneous excitement. Kubelik doesn't give us profound Mahler, but he doesn't intend to."
Superb live performance
F. Rupert | 04/04/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I largely concur with the other reviewers' comments on this live performance, but would like to note
1. The performance venue was the Herkulessaal in Munich, which has excellent if somewhat bright sound. The recording is atmospheric and somewhat reverberant, but not unduly so. The perspective is natural and enjoyable. I like it!
2. Regarding the reading, the lightness someone refers to is wonderful. Mahler's orchestration is often bright, glittery and brittle in the outer movements. With a driving tempo and a highlighted, closely miked engineering, the outer movements can sound kind of hysterical. Many recordings of this work make me feel like I'm being hit over the head. The finale is especially a problem in this way; I have always thought Mahler had a sound in mind such as Kubelik achieves. Think Vienna Philharmonic in the Sofiensaal, with a lot lightness and grace. The orchestration will make this work loud when it needs to be without the conductor and/or engineers hitting the listener over the head. Glittery and bright, but NOT aggressive. There's a big difference and some famous "Mahler" conductors forget this. I won't claim to have heard every Mahler 7th sold to the public, but I love this one. LOVE IT. More than Kubelik's Finale reminded me of the sound of Rosenkavalier.
3. Very little audience noise.
4. One reviewer implies that the orchestra is not quite up to par. Hmmm. It sounds pretty sensational to me."